IL-17–producing CD4+ T cells (Th17 cells) have well-described pathogenic roles in tissue inflammation and autoimmune diseases, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); however, the involvement of IL-21 in these processes has remained controversial. While IL-21 is an essential autocrine amplification factor for differentiation of Th17 cells, the loss of IL-21 or IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) does not protect mice from actively induced EAE. Here, we utilized a transgenic EAE mouse model, in which T and B cells overexpress receptors for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) (referred to as 2D2xTH mice), and demonstrated that IL-21 is critical for the development of a variant form of spontaneous EAE in these animals.
Youjin Lee, Meike Mitsdoerffer, Sheng Xiao, Guangxiang Gu, Raymond A. Sobel, Vijay K. Kuchroo
TH B cells lacking IL-21R are poor APCs.