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Aberrant IGF1-PI3K/AKT/MTOR signaling pathway regulates the local immunity of oral lichen planus

Rui-Jie Ma, Ya-Qin Tan, Gang Zhou
Immunobiology 2019 February 10

OBJECTIVES: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a T cell-mediated immune-related chronic disease, featured by accumulation of T cells and apoptosis of keratinocytes. Insulin-like growth factors 1 (IGF1) signaling, in combination with its downstream PI3K/AKT/MTOR cascade, plays pivotal roles in the regulation of inflammation and immune response. Meanwhile, TRB3 acts as a connective protein in the pathway. This study investigated the possible function of IGF1-PI3K/AKT/MTOR pathway in the local immunity of OLP.

METHODS: The expression of phosphorylated IGF1R (p-IGF1R) and TRB3 in lesional tissues of OLP was measured. The effects of T cells pretreated with PI3K inhibitor LY294002, MTOR antagonist rapamycin and exogenous IGF1 on the cell proliferation and apoptosis, as well as supernatant inflammatory cytokine levels were detected in co-culture system of activated T cells and oral keratinocytes, respectively.

RESULTS: The expression of p-IGF1R and TRB3 in OLP lesions was significantly increased when compared with controls (P < 0.001). Rapamycin-treated T cells displayed enhanced apoptosis rate and promoted proliferation of their keratinocytes in the co-culture system. Notably, abnormal expression of IFN-γ and IL-4 were detected in supernatant of T cell alone and co-culture system in response to pharmacological modulators of IGF1-PI3K/MTOR pathway.

CONCLUSIONS: The aberrant IGF1-PI3K/AKT/MTOR signaling may participate in the immunoregulatory mechanism of OLP, via regulation on the crosstalk between T cells and keratinocytes, as well as imbalanced cytokine networks.


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