IL-27 activates Th1-mediated responses in imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like skin lesions

Sayaka Shibata, Yayoi Tada, Yoshihide Asano, Koichi Yanaba, Makoto Sugaya, Takafumi Kadono, Naoko Kanda, Shinichi Watanabe, Shinichi Sato
Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2013, 133 (2): 479-88
IL-27, a member of the IL-12 cytokine family, primes Th1 cell differentiation, whereas it suppresses Th17 cell development. We have previously reported that serum IL-27 levels are elevated in psoriatic patients and that IL-27 greatly induces in vitro production of Th1-type chemokines through STAT1 activation. In this study, to further investigate the in vivo role of IL-27 in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, we induced psoriasis-like inflammation on mouse back skin with topical application of imiquimod (IMQ), and continuously injected IL-27 or PBS subcutaneously. IMQ-treated skin showed an increase of IL-27 mRNA levels and the infiltration of IL-27-producing cells in the papillary dermis. The injection of IL-27 to the IMQ-treated skin exacerbated the disease compared with PBS injection. The IL-27 injection further augmented mRNA levels of IFN-γ, CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and TNF-α, without altering those of IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22, and CCL20. Finally, IL-27 antagonism attenuated the upregulation of IFN-γ, CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and TNF-α mRNA levels, and induced clinical and histological improvement in the IMQ-treated skin. These results indicate that IL-27 would act in a proinflammatory manner, and thereby exacerbate the psoriasis-like skin inflammation induced by IMQ.

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