Downregulation of IL-17-producing T cells is associated with regulatory T cell expansion and disease progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
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Little is known about the immunobiology of interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing T cells and regulatory T cells (Treg) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In this study, the frequencies of Th17, Tc17, and CD39+ Treg cells were enumerated in peripheral T cells isolated from 40 CLL patients and 15 normal subjects by flow cytometry. Our results showed a lower frequency of Th17 and Tc17 cells in progressive (0.99 ± 0.12 % of total CD3+CD4+ cells; 0.44 ± 0.09 % of total CD8+ cells) compared to indolent patients (1.57 ± 0.24 %, p = 0.042; 0.82 ± 0.2 %, p = 0.09) and normal subjects (1.78 ± 0.2 %, p = 0.003; 0.71 ± 0.09 %, p = 0.04). Decrease in IL-17-producing T cells was associated with CD39+ Treg cells expansion. Variation of IL-17-producing cells and Treg cells in indolent and progressive patients was neither associated to the expression levels of Th1- and Th2-specific transcription factors T-bet and GATA-3 nor to the frequencies of IFN-γ and IL-4-producing CD4+ T cells in a selected number of samples. Additionally, suppressive potential of CD4+ Treg was similar in CLL patients and normal subjects. Our data indicate that progression of CLL is associated with downregulation of IL-17-producing T cells and expansion of Treg cells, implying contribution of these subsets of T cells in the progression of CLL.
KeywordsTh17 Tc17 Regulatory T cell Chronic lymphocytic leukemia Interleukin 17
We would like to thank Mehdi Yousefi, Tahereh Shahrestani, and Bita Ansaripour for their excellent technical support. This study was supported in part by a grant from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (grant number 9879).
Conflicts of interest
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