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Hiltensperger, Michael; Korn, Thomas (2018): The Interleukin (IL)-23/T helper (Th) 17 Axis in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis. In: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 1, a029637
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T helper (Th)17 cells are responsible for host defense against fungi and certain extracellular bacteria but have also been reported to play a role in a variety of autoimmune diseases. Th17 cells respond to environmental cues, are very plastic, and might also be involved in tissue homeostasis and regeneration. The imprinting of pathogenic properties in Th17 cells in autoimmunity seems highly dependent on interleukin (IL)-23. Since Th17 cells were first described in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, they have been suggested to also promote tissue damage in multiple sclerosis (MS). Indeed, some studies linked Th17 cells to disease severity in MS, and the efficacy of anti-IL-17A therapy in MS supported this idea. In this review, we will summarize molecular features of Th17 cells and discuss the evidence for their function in experimental models of autoimmune diseases and MS.