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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jun 1;282(22):16006-15. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

The interleukin-22/STAT3 pathway potentiates expression of inducible nitric-oxide synthase in human colon carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Inducible nitric-oxide synthase (iNOS) has been identified as a marker and mediator of disease in human colonic inflammation and carcinogenesis. Accordingly, identification of mediators that trigger iNOS in colon carcinoma/epithelial cells is an important topic of current research. Here we demonstrate that interleukin (IL)-22, a newly described member of the IL-10 cytokine family, potently synergizes with interferon (IFN)-gamma for iNOS expression in human DLD-1 colon carcinoma cells. Detection of both IL-22 receptor chains and STAT3 phosphorylation proved robust IL-22 responsiveness of these cells. Short interfering RNA technology identified STAT3 as being crucial for up-regulation of iNOS. Compared with IFNgamma, STAT1 phosphorylation by IL-22 was insufficient. IL-22 did not stabilize IL-1beta/tumor necrosis factor-alpha/IFNgamma-induced iNOS mRNA. IL-22 also failed to amplify expression of the prototypic IFNgamma-inducible parameters IL-18-binding protein and CXCL-10, indicating that IL-22 is not a general amplifier of IFNgamma functions. This assumption is furthermore supported by the observation that IL-22 was unable to enhance cellular activation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB. In contrast, IL-22 increased iNOS promoter activation as detected by using DLD-1 cells stably transfected with a corresponding 16-kb promoter construct (pNOS2(16)-Luc). IL-22 likewise enhanced iNOS in Caco-2 colon carcinoma cells. With IL-22 we introduce a novel potent determinant of iNOS expression in human colon carcinoma/epithelial cells. Considering the eminent functions of STAT3 and iNOS in inflammation and carcinogenesis, IL-22 may represent a novel target for immunotherapeutic intervention.

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