Staphylococcus aureus colonization induces strain-specific suppression of interleukin-17

Aylana Reiss-Mandel, Carmit Rubin, Morad Zayoud, Galia Rahav, Gili Regev-Yochay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality. Nasal carriage is a major source of transmission and of endogenous infection. Persistent carriage is detected in ~30% of healthy individuals. While Th17 cells have been shown to play a role in S. aureus infection and clearance, the immune response to carriage is not well understood. Here, we evaluate the Th17 response and its potential inhibitors during S. aureus carriage. We recruited 25 volunteers, of whom 11 were persistent carriers. Volunteers' peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated with either their endogenous strain (a strain isolated from that carrier) or exogenous ones (strains not carried by that volunteer). Changes in Th17 cell frequency and numbers, interleukin-17 (IL-17) mRNA expression, and IL-17 protein abundance were measured by fluorescence-activated cell sorting, real-time PCR, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Similarly, responses of IL-17 suppressors (regulatory T cells [FOXP3], IL-10, IL-27, and IL-19) were measured. Th17 and IL-17 levels in response to stimulation with endogenous strains were significantly lower than those in response to stimulation with exogenous ones. Of the suppressive cytokines tested, only IL-19 exhibited a stronger response to endogenous than to exogenous strains. Addition of recombinant IL-19 to exogenous-strain-stimulated PBMCs caused decreased IL-17 expression, whereas addition of IL-19 antibodies to endogenous-strain-stimulated cells resulted in an increased IL-17 response. Together, our results suggest that S. aureus carriage induced a tolerogenic response to a carried strain that could be reproduced through the addition of recombinant IL-19 or prevented by the addition of IL-19 antibodies. This differential immune response may play a role in the determination of S. aureus carriage patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00834-17
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1590/09, ISF 1658-15


    • Carriage
    • IL-17
    • IL-19
    • Staphylococcus aureus


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