Function-specific IL-17A and dexamethasone interactions in primary human airway epithelial cells

Siti Farah Rahmawati, Rémon Vos, I. Sophie T. Bos, Huib A.M. Kerstjens, Loes E.M. Kistemaker, Reinoud Gosens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Asthmatics have elevated levels of IL-17A compared to healthy controls. IL-17A is likely to contribute to reduced corticosteroid sensitivity of human airway epithelium. Here, we aimed to investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of this reduced sensitivity in more detail. Differentiated primary human airway epithelial cells (hAECs) were exposed to IL-17A in the absence or presence of dexamethasone. Cells were then collected for RNA sequencing analysis or used for barrier function experiments. Mucus was collected for volume measurement and basal medium for cytokine analysis. 2861 genes were differentially expressed by IL-17A (Padj < 0.05), of which the majority was not sensitive to dexamethasone (< 50% inhibition). IL-17A did inhibit canonical corticosteroid genes, such as HSD11B2 and FKBP5 (p < 0.05). Inflammatory and goblet cell metaplasia markers, cytokine secretion and mucus production were all induced by IL-17A, and these effects were not prevented by dexamethasone. Dexamethasone did reverse IL-17A-stimulated epithelial barrier disruption, and this was associated with gene expression changes related to cilia function and development. We conclude that IL-17A induces function-specific corticosteroid-insensitivity. Whereas inflammatory response genes and mucus production in primary hAECs in response to IL-17A were corticosteroid-insensitive, corticosteroids were able to reverse IL-17A-induced epithelial barrier disruption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11110
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


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