To define the role of interleukin (IL)6 in Candida albicans infection, IL-6 deficient mice were assessed for susceptibility to systemic or gastrointestinal infection, as well as for parameters of elicited T helper cell (Th) immunity. IL-6-deficient mice were more susceptible than wild-type mice to either type of infection caused by virulent C. albicans. In response to systemic challenge with a live vaccine strain of yeast, IL-6-deficient mice failed to mount Th1-associated protective immunity, but the resulting Th2-biased response could be redirected to the Th1 phenotype by IL-10 neutralization. Severe impairment of the macrophage and neutrophil response to infection was observed in IL-6-deficient mice, but administration of IL-6 would increase both neutrophil response and resistance to infection. IL-6 seems to oppose the Th2-promoting role of IL-10 in candidiasis, its early regulatory activity involving effects on neutrophil function.

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