Thorax doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-203307
  • Chest clinic
  • Basic science for the chest physician

IL-17 in lung disease: friend or foe?

  1. Mark Rosenthal2
  1. 1Leukocyte Biology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hui-Leng Tan, Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP, UK; h.tan{at}
  • Received 18 March 2013
  • Accepted 22 March 2013
  • Published Online First 19 April 2013


Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is a key proinflammatory cytokine in the T helper 17 pathway. While it is important in the clearance of certain pathogens, IL-17 has been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of such inflammatory diseases as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. In the lung, it has been postulated to be involved in the neutrophilic inflammation and airway remodelling of chronic respiratory conditions but the situation is increasingly complex. This review summarises the evidence for its role in several chronic inflammatory lung diseases: asthma, obliterative bronchiolitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sarcoidosis and cystic fibrosis.

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