Th17 cells are an effector lineage of CD4 T cells that can contribute to protection against microbial pathogens and to the development of harmful autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. An increasing number of studies suggests that Th17 cells play an important protective role in mobilizing host immunity to extracellular and intracellular microbial pathogens, such as Candida and Salmonella. Furthermore, the generation of Th17 cells is heavily influenced by the normal microbial flora, highlighting the complex interplay among harmless microbes, pathogens, and host immunity in the regulation of pathogen-specific Th17 responses. In this article, we review the current understanding of microbe-induced Th17 cells in the context of infectious and inflammatory disease.
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