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Th17 cells have been reported to produce proinflammatory cytokines like Interleukin-17, IL-22, and regarded as important players in various inflammatory diseases. One of the IL-12 cytokine family cytokines, IL-23, composed of p19 and p40 subunit, is known for its potential to promote Th17 development and IL-17 producing, and the IL-23/IL-17 pathway is considered to be potential therapeutic target for autoimmune inflammation responses. Knockout mice deficient in either IL-23 or IL-17 related genes can suppress the allergic responses. Several IL-23 or IL-17 neutralizing agents are being evaluated in vitro or in vivo to disrupt the IL-23/IL-17 axis. Herein, we report that prokaryotically expressed soluble IL-23 receptor cytokine-binding homology region as an endogenous extracellular receptor analogue could be a natural antagonist against IL-23/IL-17 axis. We provide evidence that IL23R-CHR can bind to IL-23 in a dose-dependent manner in vitro, and block IL-23 signal by IL23R-CHR reducing the RORĪ³t expression, which in turn lowers the expression of IL-17/IL-22, thus protecting naive CD4+ T cells against Th17 development. Together, this study indicates the importance of IL-23 pathway in Th17 development and the negative regulation of Th17 development by IL23R-CHR, and highlights the important roles of the soluble receptor extracellular region in the therapeutic strategy of neutralizing IL-23.


Wei Guo, Cheng Luo, Chen Wang, Yue Zhu, Xin Wang, Xiangdong Gao, Wenbing Yao. Protection against Th17 cells differentiation by an interleukin-23 receptor cytokine-binding homology region. PloS one. 2012;7(9):e45625

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PMID: 23029144

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