Using a mouse model of experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM), we showed for the first time that IL-23 stimulation of CD4+ T cells is required only briefly at the initiation of GM-CFS-dependent cardiac autoimmunity. IL-23 signal, acting as a switch, turns on pathogenicity of CD4+ T cells, and becomes dispensable once autoreactivity is established. Il23a-/- mice failed to mount an efficient Th17 response to immunization, and were protected from myocarditis. However, remarkably, transient IL-23 stimulation ex vivo fully restored pathogenicity in otherwise nonpathogenic CD4+ T cells raised from Il23a-/- donors. Thus, IL-23 may no longer be necessary to uphold inflammation in established autoimmune diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy