Is serum Interleukin-17 associated with early atherosclerosis in obese patients?

Giovanni Tarantino, Susan Costantini, Carmine Finelli, Francesca Capone, Eliana Guerriero, Nicolina La Sala, Saverio Gioia, Giuseppe Castello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory process of the vessel walls, and CD4+ T-cells are peculiar to both human and murine atherosclerotic lesions. There is a recent line of research favoring hypothetic allergic mechanisms in the genesis of atherosclerosis and, consequently, coronary artery disease (CAD), among which Interleukin (IL)-17 appears to be a key cytokine regulating local tissue inflammation.The objective was to add a piece of information on the role of IL-17 in the genesis of atherosclerosis. Eighty obese patients with normal liver enzyme levels but presenting with ultrasonographic evidence of NAFLD formed the population of this cross-sectional study. Anthropometric measures, data on excess adiposity, metabolic profile, serum concentrations of IL-17, eotaxin-3, IL-8, and CCL4/MIP1β, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, ferritin, TNF-α, as well carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a marker of atherosclerosis, and the main risk factors for CAD, such as blood pressure and smoking status, but also less determinant ones such as degree of NAFLD severity, Intramuscular Triglyceride storage and Resting Metabolic Rate were evaluated.Serum concentrations of Il-17 were detected as related to those of inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IFN-γ and TNF-α. Furthermore, circulating levels of IL-17 were linked to those mirroring allergic process, IL-8, CCL4/MIP1β and eotaxin. Early atherosclerosis, evidenced as increased IMT, was not associated with circulating IL-17 levels. At multiple regression, IMT was predicted, other than by age, by the amount of the visceral adiposity, expressed as visceral adipose tissue at ultrasonography, and by serum eotaxin.In conclusion, a strong relationship was found between the IL-17-related chemokine eotaxin and IMT. The association found between the amount of visceral fat and circulating levels of eotaxin on the one hand, and IMT on the other, could reinforce the hypothesis that IL-17, released by the visceral adipose tissue, induces eotaxin secretion via the smooth muscle cells present in the atheromatosus vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 6 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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