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Keywords:

  • bacterial immunity;
  • infection;
  • interleukin-17A;
  • natural killer cells;
  • Streptococcus pyogenes;
  • T helper type 17 cells

Summary

Streptococcus pyogenes is the causative agent of numerous diseases ranging from benign infections (pharyngitis and impetigo) to severe infections associated with high mortality (necrotizing fasciitis and bacterial sepsis). As with other bacterial infections, there is considerable interest in characterizing the contribution of interleukin-17A (IL-17A) responses to protective immunity. We here show significant il17a up-regulation by quantitative real-time PCR in secondary lymphoid organs, correlating with increased protein levels in the serum within a short time of S. pyogenes infection. However, our data offer an important caveat to studies of IL-17A responsiveness following antigen inoculation, because enhanced levels of IL-17A were also detected in the serum of sham-infected mice, indicating that inoculation trauma alone can stimulate the production of this cytokine. This highlights the potency and speed of innate IL-17A immune responses after inoculation and the importance of proper and appropriate controls in comparative analysis of immune responses observed during microbial infection.