Autoimmune diseases cause chronic inflammation ranging from debilitating to life threatening. Th17 cells are a common driver of multiple autoimmune diseases. In the last decade, much has been done to analyse the common effector functions and regulation of these inflammatory Th17 cells. However, Th17 cell responses differ tremendously in their effector function and phenology throughout the Th17 cell-related autoimmune diseases. To understand, and subsequently treat specific diseases, it is therefore beneficial to not only consider common effects but also to recognise tissue-specific features for the development of customised treatments.
We therefore aim to:
- clarify Th17 cell intrinsic factors involved in their tissue-specific pathology
- analyse how innate lymphoid cells modulate Th17 response
- investigate Th17 cell effector-function on neutrophils an important but often underestimated cell population in autoimmunity.
In order to address these questions, we analyse Th17 cells and other IL-17 producers from different inflammatory sites using in vivo models. By dissecting aspects of external and intrinsic regulation as well as the effector function of Th17 cells this work will significantly increase our understanding of Th17 cell-related autoimmunity.