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High peripheral blood Th17 percent associated with poor lung function in cystic fibrosis

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posted on 2023-05-18, 09:12 authored by Emily Mulcahy-SinghEmily Mulcahy-Singh, Hudson, JB, Sean BeggsSean Beggs, Reid, DW, Louise RoddamLouise Roddam, Cooley, MA
People with cystic fibrosis (CF) have been reported to make lung T cell responses that are biased towards T helper (Th) 2 or Th17. We hypothesized that CF-related T cell regulatory defects could be detected by analyzing CD4+ lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 42 CF patients (6 months–53 years old) and 78 healthy controls (2–61 years old) were analyzed for Th1 (IFN-γ+), Th2 (IL-4+), Th17 (IL-17+), Treg (FOXP3+), IL-10+ and TGF-β+ CD4+ cells. We observed higher proportions of Treg, IL-10+ and TGF-β+ CD4+ cells in CF adults (≥ 18 years old), but not children/adolescents, compared with controls. Within the CF group, high TGF-β+% was associated with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection (p < 0.006). We observed no significant differences between control and CF groups in the proportions of Th1, Th2 or Th17 cells, and no association within the CF group of any subset with sex, CFTR genotype, or clinical exacerbation. However, high Th17% was strongly associated with poor lung function (FEV1 % predicted) (p = 0.0008), and this association was strongest when both lung function testing and blood sampling were performed within one week. Our results are consistent with reports of CF as a Th17 disease and suggest that peripheral blood Th17 levels may be a surrogate marker of lung function in CF.


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PLoS One



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Tasmanian School of Medicine


Public Library of Science

Place of publication

United States

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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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  • Open

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Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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