Everything in moderation, especially TH17 cells
Mirko Paiardini’s paper, published this week in Journal of Clinical Investigation, describes a treatment aimed at repairing immune function in SIV-infected monkeys, with an eye toward helping people with HIV one day. One of the goals of their IL-21 treatment is to restore intestinal Th17 cells, which are depleted by viral infection. In this context, IL-21’s effect is anti-inflammatory. Dr. Paiardini is a faculty member in the IMP program.
However, Th17 cells are also involved in autoimmune disease. A recent Cell Metabolism paper from endocrinologist and IMP faculty member Roberto Pacifici and colleagues examines a drug under development for psoriasis that is directed against Th17 cells, which could be repurposed to treat bone loss coming from a overactive parathyroid. In that situation, too many Th17 cells are bad and they need to be beaten back.