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Interleukin (IL)-17 is emerging as an important cytokine in vaccine-induced protection against tuberculosis disease in animal models. Here we show that compared to parenteral delivery, BCG delivered mucosally enhances cytokine production, including interferon gamma and IL-17, in the lungs. Furthermore, we find that cholera toxin, delivered mucosally along with BCG, further enhances IL-17 production by CD4(+) T cells over mucosal BCG alone both in the lungs and systemically. This boosting effect of CT is also observed using a vaccine regimen of BCG followed by the candidate vaccine MVA85A. Using a murine Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) aerosol challenge model, we demonstrate the ability of cholera toxin delivered at the time of a priming BCG vaccination to improve protection against tuberculosis disease in a manner at least partially dependent on the observed increase in IL-17. This observed increase in IL-17 in the lungs has no adverse effect on lung pathology following M.tb challenge, indicating that IL-17 can safely be boosted in murine lungs in a vaccine/M.tb challenge setting.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Analysis of Variance, Animals, BCG Vaccine, Cholera Toxin, Interleukin-17, Mice, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Statistics, Nonparametric, Tuberculosis