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Am J Pathol. 2000 Sep;157(3):945-55.

NOS-2 mediates the protective anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic effects of the Th1-inducing adjuvant, IL-12, in a Th2 model of granulomatous disease.

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Schistosomiasis Immunology and Pathology Unit, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Mice sensitized with SCHISTOSOMA: mansoni eggs and IL-12 develop liver granulomas, on subsequent infection, which are smaller and less fibrotic than those in nonsensitized mice. The protective response is accompanied by a shift in the type-2 cytokine profile to one dominated by type-1 cytokines. The deviated response is associated with marked increases in inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS-2) activity. Here, we demonstrate, by using NOS-2-deficient mice, that the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of the type-1 response are completely NOS-2-dependent. Strikingly, despite developing a polarized type-1 cytokine response that was similar in magnitude, the egg/IL-12-sensitized NOS-deficient mice developed granulomas 8 times larger than WT mice did. There was also no decrease in hepatic fibrosis in the sensitized mutant animals. Interferon-gamma-deficient mice failed to exhibit the exacerbated inflammatory response, despite displaying a marked deficiency in nitric oxide production. However, immune deviation was unsuccessful in the latter animals, which suggested that the increase in inflammation in NOS-deficient mice resulted from a polarized but nitric oxide-deficient type-1 response. These results reveal a beneficial role for NOS-2 in the regulation of inflammation and suggest that the ultimate success of Th2-to-Th1 immune deviation strategies will rely on the efficient activation of NOS-2 expression in downstream effector cells.

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