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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Oct;30(10):3057-60.

Interleukin-18 induces production of proinflammatory cytokines in mice: no intermediate role for the cytokines of the tumor necrosis factor family and interleukin-1beta.

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1
Department of Medicine, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands. M.Netea@aig.azn.nl

Abstract

Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is not only a co-stimulus for the induction of interferon-gamma but also has direct proinflammatory effects by inducing tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), IL-1, IL-8 and IL-6. However, the cascade of events leading to induction of cytokines by IL-18 is unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether murine IL-18 stimulates production of proinflammatory cytokines, and to assess whether induction of second-wave cytokines such as IL-6 by IL-18 is driven by intermediary induction of endogenous cytokines of the TNF family or IL-1beta. When mouse peritoneal macrophages were stimulated in vitro with recombinant murine IL-18, there was a dose-dependent induction of TNF, IL-1alpha, and IL-1beta. IL-6 synthesis was also strongly induced by IL-18 and, as revealed by studies in knockout mice, this production was not dependent on interactions between endogenous cytokines of the TNF/TNF receptor family: TNF-alpha, lymphotoxin-alpha, Fas/Fas ligand (L) or CD40/CD40L. Moreover, the induction of IL-6 was also independent of endogenous IL-1beta, as macrophages isolated from IL-1beta deficient mice produced normal amounts of IL-6 after stimulation with IL-18. In conclusion, murine IL-18 has pleiotropic proinflammatory activities by inducing production of TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6, which could have important consequences for the pathophysiology of infectious and autoimmune diseases.

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