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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neuroanat. | doi: 10.3389/fnana.2019.00095

Th17 and cognitive impairment: possible mechanisms of action

  • 1Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 2Sant' Andrea Hospital, Italy
  • 3Feil Family Brain & Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, United States

T helper 17 (Th17) cells represent a distinct population of immune cells, important in the defense of the organism against extracellular infectious agents. Because of their cytokine profile and ability to recruit other immune cell types, they are highly proinflammatory and are involved in the induction of several autoimmune disorders. Accumulating evidence suggests that Th17 cells and their signature cytokine IL-17 have also a role in a wide variety of neurological diseases, however the mechanisms by which they exert their pathogenic effect have not been completely elucidated. This review will briefly summarize the evidence linking Th17 cells to brain diseases associated with cognitive impairment, including multiple sclerosis, ischemic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. We will also investigate the mechanisms by which these cells enter the brain and induce brain damage, including direct effects of IL-17 on brain cells and indirect effects mediated through disruption of the blood-brain barrier, neurovascular dysfunction and gut-brain axis. Finally, therapeutic prospects targeting Th17 cells and IL-17 will be discussed.

Keywords: Th17 cells (Th17), IL 17, cognitive impairment, Neuroinflammation, Immune System (IS), Central Nervous System, gut brain axis

Received: 14 May 2019; Accepted: 07 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Cipollini, Anrather, Orzi and Iadecola. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Virginia Cipollini, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy,