Staphylococcal-associated molecular patterns enhance expression of immune defense genes induced by IL-17 in mammary epithelial cells

Salim Bougarn, Patricia Cunha, Florence B. Gilbert, Abdallah Harmache, Gilles Foucras, Pascal Rainard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin-17A (IL-17A) and IL-17F have been shown to mediate a crucial crosstalk between the immune system and various epithelial tissues, stimulating various defensive mechanisms to bacterial infections. A number of studies have characterized the response to IL-17A and IL-17F of epithelial cells from airways, intestine, and skin, but not from the mammary gland. To evaluate the potential contribution of IL-17 to the immune defense of the mammary gland, we analyzed the effects of recombinant bovine IL-17A and IL-17F on primary bovine mammary epithelial cells (MEC) by quantitative PCR and ELISA. We found expression (mRNA) of the two components of the IL-17 receptor complex, IL-17RA and IL-17RC, in mammary tissue and MEC in vitro. The expression of a number of genes encoding cytokines, chemokines and proteins endowed with antibacterial activities was increased by IL-17A, and to a lesser extent by IL-17F, but the magnitude of responses was modest. As expected, responses were augmented by the combination of IL-17A or IL-17F with TNF-α. Interestingly, responses of a few of the tested genes, such as IL8, CCL20, iNOS, and CfB, were augmented by the combination of IL-17A with staphylococcal lipoteichoic acid or muramyl dipeptide, bacterial agonists of the innate immune system. This can be interpreted as indicating that IL-17A and IL-17F are tailored to exert their full potential in a septic environment. MEC responses were characterized by the expression of chemokines targeting not only neutrophils (CXCL3 and CXCL8) but also mononuclear leucocytes (CCL2, CCL20). Production of IL-6 was low and the inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β were expressed (mRNA) but proteins were not secreted. Altogether, our results suggest that IL-17A and IL-17F have a potential to modulate the mammary gland immune response to mastitis-causing pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-759
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011



  • Cattle
  • Epithelium
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-17
  • Mastitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this