Interleukin-26, preferentially produced by TH17 lymphocytes, regulates CNS barrier function.

Results: IL-26 expression was induced in TH lymphocytes by TH17-inducing cytokines and was upregulated in the blood and CSF of patients with MS. CD4+IL-26+ T lymphocytes were found in perivascular infiltrates in MS brain lesions, and both receptor chains for IL-26 (IL-10R2 and IL-20R1) were detected on BBB ECs in vitro and in situ. In contrast to IL-17 and IL-22, IL-26 promoted integrity and reduced permeability of BBB ECs in vitro and in vivo. In EAE, IL-26 reduced disease severity and proinflammatory lymphocyte infiltration into the CNS, while increasing infiltration of Tregs.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that although IL-26 is preferentially expressed by TH17 lymphocytes, it promotes BBB integrity in vitro and in vivo and is protective in chronic EAE, highlighting the functional diversity of cytokines produced by TH17 lymphocytes.”