Donor T-cell–derived interleukin-17A (IL-17A) can mediate late immunopathology in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), however protective roles remain unclear. Using multiple cytokine and cytokine receptor subunit knockout mice, we demonstrate that stem cell transplant recipients lacking the ability to generate or signal IL-17 develop intestinal hyper-acute GVHD. This protective effect is restricted to the molecular interaction of IL-17A and/or IL-17F with the IL-17 receptor A/C (IL-17RA/C). The protection from GVHD afforded by IL-17A required secretion from, and signaling in, both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic host tissue. Given the intestinal-specificity of the disease in these animals, we cohoused wild-type (WT) with IL-17RA and IL-17RC–deficient mice, which dramatically enhanced the susceptibility of WT mice to acute GVHD. Furthermore, the gut microbiome of WT mice shifted toward that of the IL-17RA/C mice during cohousing prior to transplant, confirming that an IL-17–sensitive gut microbiota controls susceptibility to acute GVHD. Finally, induced IL-17A depletion peritransplant also enhanced acute GVHD, consistent with an additional protective role for this cytokine independent of effects on dysbiosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01 AI34495), and the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 HL56067). G.R.H. is an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow. P.H. is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow.