T helper type (Th17) cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-17A and IL-22 are important in maintaining mucosal barrier function and may be important in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Here, we analyzed cells from the colon of IBD patients and show that Crohn's disease (CD) patients had significantly elevated numbers of IL-17+, CD4+ cells compared with healthy controls and ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, but these numbers did not vary based on the inflammatory status of the mucosa. By contrast, UC patients had significantly reduced numbers of IL-22+ cells in actively inflamed tissues compared with both normal tissue and healthy controls. There was a selective increase in mono-IL-17-producing cells from the mucosa of UC patients with active inflammation together with increased expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and c-Maf. Increasing concentrations of TGF-β in lamina propria mononuclear cell cultures significantly depleted Th22 cells, whereas anti-TGF-β antibodies increased IL-22 production. When mucosal microbiota was examined, depletion of Th22 cells in actively inflamed tissue was associated with reduced populations of Clostridiales and increased populations of Proteobacteria. These results suggest that increased TGF-β during active inflammation in UC may lead to the loss of Th22 cells in the human intestinal mucosa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy