Th17 and Th22 cells are thought to function as innate regulators of mucosal antimicrobial responses, tissue inflammation and mucosal integrity, yet their role in persistent SIV infection is still unclear. Here we compared Th17 and Th22 cells in their phenotype, effector/cytokine function, and frequency in blood and intestinal mucosal tissues, and correlate levels with mucosal damage in SIV-infected rhesus macaques. We found that Th17/Th22 cells share similar features in that both highly produce TNF-α and IL-2 and express CCR5 in intestinal tissues; yet very few show cytotoxic functions, as evidenced by lack of IFN-γ and granzyme B production. Further, Th17/Th22 cells display distinct tissue-specific distributions. Both Th17 and Th22 cells and cytokine secretion were significantly depleted in both blood and intestine in chronically SIV-infected macaques. The frequency of Th17 and Th22 cells in the intestine positively correlated with percentages of intestinal CD4+ T cells and negatively with damage to intestinal mucosa, and plasma viral loads in SIV infection. These findings indicate Th17 and Th22 cells share considerable functions, and may coordinate in innate mucosal immune responses, and their regional loss in the intestine may be associated with local mucosal immune dysfunction in persistent HIV/SIV infection.
Xu, H., Wang, X., & Veazey, R. S. (2014). Th17 cells coordinate with Th22 cells in maintaining homeostasis of intestinal tissues and both are depleted in SIV-infected macaques. Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research, 5(5). https://doi.org/10.4172/2155-6113.1000302