IL-17 is a proinflammatory cytokine that activates T cells and other immune cells to produce a variety of cytokines, chemokines, and cell adhesion molecules. This cytokine is augmented in the sera and/or tissues of patients with contact dermatitis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. We previously demonstrated that IL-17 is involved in the development of autoimmune arthritis and contact, delayed, and airway hypersensitivity in mice. As the expression of IL-17 is also augmented in multiple sclerosis, we examined the involvement of this cytokine in these diseases using IL-17(-/-) murine disease models. We found that the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the rodent model of multiple sclerosis, was significantly suppressed in IL-17(-/-) mice; these animals exhibited delayed onset, reduced maximum severity scores, ameliorated histological changes, and early recovery. T cell sensitization against myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein was reduced in IL-17(-/-) mice upon sensitization. The major producer of IL-17 upon treatment with myelin digodendrocyte glycopritein was CD4+ T cells rather than CD8+ T cells, and adoptive transfer of IL-17(-/-) CD4+ T cells inefficiently induced EAE in recipient mice. Notably, IL-17-producing T cells were increased in IFN-gamma(-/-) cells, while IFN-gamma-producing cells were increased in IL-17(-/-) cells, suggesting that IL-17 and IFN-gamma mutually regulate IFN-gamma and IL-17 production. These observations indicate that IL-17 rather than IFN-gamma plays a crucial role in the development of EAE.