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Genes associated with T helper 17 cell differentiation and function
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Interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing T helper cells (Th17 cells) constitute a lineage of CD4 effector T helper cells that is distinct from the Th1 and Th2 CD4 phenotypes. In humans, Th17 differentiation is induced in the presence of the cytokines IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TGF beta, whereas IL-23 maintains Th17 survival. Effector human Th17 cells express several cytokines and cell surface markers, including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22, IL-26, CCR6 and TNFa. Studies on human cells have revealed that the RORC2 transcription factor plays an effective role in Th17 differentiation. Th17 cells contribute to the host immune response by involving various pathologies, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. However, the full extent of their contribution to diseases is being investigated. The differentiation of Th17 cells is controlled by many transcription factors, including ROR gammat, IRF4, RUNX1, BATF, and STAT3. This review covers the general principles of CD4 T helper differentiation and the known transcription factors that play a role in the recently discovered Th17 cells.