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Highly Accessed Review

Mucocutaneous candidiasis: the IL-17 pathway and implications for targeted immunotherapy

Anna R Huppler1, Shrinivas Bishu2 and Sarah L Gaffen34*

Author Affiliations

1 Childrens Hospital of UPMC, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA

2 University of Pittsburgh, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

3 University of Pittsburgh, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

4 BST S703, 3500 Terrace St, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:217  doi:10.1186/ar3893

Published: 23 July 2012

Abstract

IL-17 and related cytokines are direct and indirect targets of selective immunosuppressive agents for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and other diseases of pathologic inflammation. Insights into the potential adverse effects of IL-17 blockade can be drawn from the experience of patients with deficiencies in the IL-17 pathway. A unifying theme of susceptibility to mucocutaneous candidiasis is seen in both mice and humans with a variety of genetic defects that converge on this pathway. Mucocutaneous candidiasis is a superficial infection of mucosal, nail or skin surfaces usually caused by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. The morbidity of the disease includes significant pain, weight loss and secondary complications, including carcinoma and aneurysms. This review describes the known human diseases associated with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) as well as the known and proposed connections to IL-17 signaling. The human diseases include defects in IL-17 signaling due to autoantibodies (AIRE deficiency), receptor mutations (IL-17 receptor mutations) or mutations in the cytokine genes (IL17F and IL17A). Hyper-IgE syndrome is characterized by elevated serum IgE, dermatitis and recurrent infections, including CMC due to impaired generation of IL-17-producing Th17 cells. Mutations in STAT1, IL12B and IL12RB1 result in CMC secondary to decreased IL-17 production through different mechanisms. Dectin-1 defects and CARD9 defects result in susceptibility to C. albicans because of impaired host recognition of the pathogen and subsequent impaired generation of IL-17-producing T cells. Thus, recent discoveries of genetic predisposition to CMC have driven the recognition of the role of IL-17 in protection from mucosal fungal infection and should guide counseling and management of patients treated with pharmacologic IL-17 blockade.