Role of Th17 cells in health and disease
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Th17 cells are a recently discovered novel subset of helper T cells. Th17 cells differentiate along a different lineage than Th1 and Th2 cells. Already many factors which play an important role in the differentiation of Th17 cells have been discovered, like IL-6, TGF-β, IL-21, and IL-23. Also intracellular factors, like STAT3, RORγt, and RORα, were found. Th17 cells express IL-17 and IL-22, among other cytokines. There is also increasing evidence on the function of these cells within the immune system. Th17 cells are mostly involved in the chemotaxis of neutrophils and the clearance of extracellular bacteria en fungi. Furthermore, Th17 cells have also been identified to play an important role in a broad spectrum of diseases. For instance, several autoimmune and allergic disorders have been related to Th17 cells, as well as other diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease and several forms of cancer. This master thesis gives an overview of the data discovered on the regulation, function, and relation to diseases of Th17 cells.