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J Immunol. 2002 Jan 1;168(1):411-20.

Treatment of T cell-dependent experimental colitis in SCID mice by local administration of an adenovirus expressing IL-18 antisense mRNA.

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Laboratory of Immunology, I Medical Clinic, University of Mainz, Langenbeckstrasse 1, Mainz, Germany.

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  • J Immunol 2002 Apr 1;168(7):3683.


Recent studies have shown that IL-18, a pleiotropic cytokine that augments IFN-gamma production, is produced by intestinal epithelial cells and lamina propria cells from patients with Crohn's disease. In this study, we show that IL-18 is strongly expressed by intestinal epithelial cells in a murine model of Crohn's disease induced by transfer of CD62L+ CD4+ T cells into SCID mice. To specifically down-regulate IL-18 expression in this model, we constructed an E1/E3-deleted adenovirus expressing IL-18 antisense mRNA, denoted Ad-asIL-18, and demonstrated the capacity of such a vector to down-regulate IL-18 expression in colon-derived DLD-1 cells and RAW264.7 macrophages. Local administration of the Ad-asIL-18 vector to SCID mice with established colitis led to transduction of epithelial cells and caused a significant suppression of colitis activity, as assessed by a newly developed endoscopic analysis system for colitis. Furthermore, treatment with Ad-asIL-18 induced a significant suppression of histologic colitis activity and caused suppression of mucosal IFN-gamma production, whereas IFN-gamma production by spleen T cells was unaffected. Taken together, these data indicate an important role for IL-18 in the effector phase of a T cell-dependent murine model of colitis and suggest that strategies targeting IL-18 expression may be used for the treatment of patients with Crohn's disease.

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