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The Journal of experimental medicine

GM-CSF mediates autoimmunity by enhancing IL-6-dependent Th17 cell development and survival.


PMID 18779348

Abstract

Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is critically involved in development of organ-related autoimmune inflammatory diseases including experimental allergic encephalitis and collagen-induced arthritis. Roles of GM-CSF in the initiation and in the effector phase of the autoimmune response have been proposed. Our study was designed to investigate the mechanisms of GM-CSF in autoimmunity using a model of autoimmune heart inflammatory disease (myocarditis). The pathological sequel after immunization with heart myosin has been shown previously to depend on IL-1, IL-6, IL-23, and IL-17. We found that innate GM-CSF was critical for IL-6 and IL-23 responses by dendritic cells and generation of pathological Th17 cells in vivo. Moreover, GM-CSF promoted autoimmunity by enhancing IL-6-dependent survival of antigen specific CD4(+) T cells. These results suggest a novel role for GM-CSF in promoting generation and maintenance of Th17 cells by regulation of IL-6 and IL-23 in vivo.

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