IL-23 and Th17 cells play important roles in host defense against systemic infections with extracellular bacteria and fungi, although their roles in immunity against localized skin infections are less well defined. Here, the contributions of IL-23 and Th17 cytokines in host defense against cutaneous Candida albicans infection were evaluated. Mice deficient in IL-23 or IL-17A demonstrated delayed healing and decreased IL-17A production after skin infection with C. albicans compared with wild-type mice or mice deficient in IL-12 or IL-22. Histologic examination revealed epidermal hyperplasia overlying infected dermis four days postinoculation in wild-type mice. In IL-23-deficient mice, fungal burden was greater in skin, neither IL-17A nor IL-22 mRNAs were expressed postinfection, and these mice demonstrated only minimal epidermal hyperplasia. Exogenous recombinant IL-17A injected at the site of skin infection promoted more rapid healing of candidiasis in both wild-type mice and mice deficient in IL-23 and IL-12. Taken together, these results demonstrate that IL-23 and IL-17A, but not IL-12 and IL-22, are required for optimal host defense against cutaneous candidiasis. In addition, recombinant IL-17A may serve as a potential therapy to enhance healing in individuals with chronic cutaneous candidiasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy