IL-17 and IFN-γ production in peripheral blood following BCG vaccination and Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in human

Q. Li, J. Li, J. Tian, B. Zhu, Y. Zhang, K. Yang, Y. Ling, Y. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: During Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, cells of the immune system rely on cytokines to regulate the activity of other immune and structural cells such as IFN-gamma and IL-4. Recent studies suggest that Th17 cells secreting IL-17 may play a potential role in tuberculosis (TB) development. AIM: To assess the effect of IL-17 on TB development, we provide a systematic review on the production of IL-17, IFN-gamma and IL-4 in infants or children vaccinated with BCG and in TB patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The literature relevant with IL-17 and IFN-gamma production with or without IL-4 on human TB was retrieved from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, BIOSIS Previews and the China Biomedicine Literature Databases (CBM) using the search terms "Interleukin-17 or Th17 cells" and "Tuberculosis". The information of included studies, the production of IL-17 and IFN-gamma responding to antigens in the peripheral blood in vitro, was independently extracted by the first two researchers and subsequently qualitatively analyzed. RESULTS: Nine studies from a total of 226 retrieved publications met the criteria. These included studies showed that BCG vaccination induced dramatically high level of IL-17 similar to IFN-gamma; The level of IL-17 and IFN-gamma were low while IL-4 was high in patients with active TB; IL-17 and IFN-gamma had a similar trend of increase during the conversion from active to latent TB while IL-4 inclined to decrease in this process. CONCLUSIONS: IL-17 acts as an effector molecule similar to IFN-gamma after BCG vaccination and Mtb infection to protect human against TB. The current findings do not support IL-17 as an inducer of tissue damage in TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2029-2036
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean review for medical and pharmacological sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • IFN-γ
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-4
  • Th1 cells
  • Th17 cells
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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