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Int Immunol. 2004 Mar;16(3):477-88.

Osteopontin affects the persistence of beta-glucan-induced hepatic granuloma formation and tissue injury through two distinct mechanisms.

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  • 1Divison of Molecular Immunology, Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0815, Japan.


Osteopontin (OPN) plays a pivotal role in various immune responses and inflammatory diseases. OPN is expressed in various granulomatous diseases; however, the cellular and molecular role of OPN in these diseases is not well known. We analyzed the role of OPN in a beta-glucan-induced hepatic granuloma model. First, we found that neither OPN deficiency nor overexpression of OPN affected the number and the size of hepatic granulomas at day 7, indicating that OPN is not involved in the formation of hepatic granulomas at the early stages. Importantly, OPN did not influence the liver tissue damage as defined by alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels at early stages. Second, OPN deficiency resulted in the reduction of IL-12 and IFN-gamma production at early stages. Third, at late stages, OPN deficiency resulted in a decrease in the number and size of hepatic granulomas, and a reduction of liver tissue injury. This was due to the reduction of the cellular recruitment including macrophages, CD4 T cells and dendritic cells into the liver, and the reduction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production in the liver. In contrast, overexpression of OPN resulted in the persistence of granuloma formation. These data suggest that OPN affects the persistence of hepatic granuloma formation. Our results indicate that OPN up-regulates the production of IL-12 and IFN-gamma within the granulomas at early stages, and OPN has an additional role in the regulation of cellular recruitment and TNF-alpha production at late stages that determine the severity of liver tissue injury.

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