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J Clin Invest. 2002 Nov;110(10):1503-13.

Opposing roles of STAT1 and STAT3 in T cell-mediated hepatitis: regulation by SOCS.

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Section on Liver Biology, Laboratory of Physiologic Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


T cell-mediated fulminant hepatitis is a life-threatening event for which the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Injection of concanavalin A (Con A) into mice recapitulates the histological and pathological sequelae of T cell-mediated hepatitis. In this model, both signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 1 (STAT1) and STAT3 are activated in the liver. Disruption of the STAT1 gene by way of genetic knockout attenuates liver injury, suppresses CD4(+) and NK T cell activation, and downregulates expression of proapoptotic interferon regulatory factor-1 protein and suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1), but enhances STAT3 activation and STAT3-controlled antiapoptotic signals. Studies from IFN-gamma-deficient mice indicate that IFN-gamma not only is the major cytokine responsible for STAT1 activation but also partially accounts for STAT3 activation. Moreover, downregulation of STAT3 activation in IL-6-deficient mice is associated with decreased STAT3-controlled antiapoptotic signals and expression of SOCS3, but upregulation of STAT1 activation and STAT1-induced proapoptotic signals and exacerbation of liver injury. Taken together, these findings suggest that STAT1 plays a harmful role in Con A-mediated hepatitis by activation of CD4(+) and NK T cells and directly inducing hepatocyte death, whereas STAT3 protects against liver injury by suppression of IFN-gamma signaling and induction of antiapoptotic protein Bcl-X(L). STAT1 and STAT3 in hepatocytes also negatively regulate one another through the induction of SOCS.

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