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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Feb;31(2):369-75.

Role of interferon regulatory factor-1 in the regulation of IL-18 production and activity.

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Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, USA.


Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) is a transcription factor regulating the expression of several cytokines. Using IRF-1 knockout (KO) mice, the role of IRF-1 in the production and activity of IL-18 was evaluated. Administration of IL-12 or concanavalin A significantly increased levels of circulating IL-18 in wild-type (WT), but not in IRF-1 KO mice. However, despite these differences in circulating IL-18 levels, no or only minor differences in constitutive or inducible IL-18 mRNA and tissue-associated protein levels were observed between WT and IRF-1 KO mice. On the other hand, we observed that constitutive and inducible levels of the IL-18-processing enzyme caspase-1 were markedly reduced in the spleen and the liver of IRF-1 KO compared to WT mice. In addition, both constitutive and inducible liver mRNA levels for the IL-18 binding protein (IL-18BP), a specific IL-18 antagonist, were significantly lower in IRF-1 KO than in WT mice. Compared to IL-12, IL-18 only weakly induced IRF-1 mRNA in cultured splenocytes. However, IL-18-induced IFN-gamma production was strongly reduced in splenocytes from IRF-1 KO compared to WT cells. In conclusion, IRF-1 regulates IL-18 production and activity mostly by modulating expression of caspase-1 and IL-18BP. In addition, IRF-1 participates in the induction of IFN-gamma by IL-18.

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