High-Dose Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37rv Infection in IL-17A- and IL-17A/F-Deficient Mice

Kristina Ritter, Jochen Behrends, Dominik Ruckerl, Alexandra Hölscher, Johanna Volz, Immo Prinz, Christoph Hölscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During experimental tuberculosis (TB), interleukin (IL)-17A appears to be involved in the formation of lung granulomas, possibly through the attraction of neutrophils to the sites of infection. However, the protective impact of cytokine appears to depend on the degree of its induction. Hence, robust production of IL-17A in mice infected with the hypervirulent isolate Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) HN878 mediates protection, while the cytokine is dispensable for protective immune responses against low-dose infection with the less virulent strain H37rv. Here, we show that after experimental infection with high doses of Mtb H37rv, IL-17A-deficient (−/−) mice exhibited high susceptibility to the infection, which was mediated by the strong accumulation of neutrophils in the infected lung tissue. Accordingly, we observed nearly unrestricted bacterial replication within the neutrophils, indicating that they may serve as a survival niche for Mtb. By use of IL-17A/IL-17F-double-deficient mice, we demonstrated that the susceptibility in the absence of IL-17A is mediated by a compensatory expression of IL-17F, which, however, appeared not to be dependent on neutrophils. Together, our results illustrate the compensatory potential of the Th17-secreted cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F in the context of experimental TB and once again emphasize the detrimental effect of excessive neutrophil infiltration in response to Mtb.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2875
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2022


  • IL-17A
  • IL-17F
  • cytokines
  • neutrophils
  • rodent
  • tuberculosis
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Interleukin-17/deficiency
  • Tuberculosis/immunology
  • Mice
  • Cytokines/metabolism


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