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J Clin Invest. 2003 May;111(9):1297-308.

Toll-like receptor-dependent production of IL-12p40 causes chronic enterocolitis in myeloid cell-specific Stat3-deficient mice.

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Department of Host Defense, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.


Stat3 plays an essential role in IL-10 signaling pathways. A myeloid cell-specific deletion of Stat3 resulted in inflammatory cytokine production and development of chronic enterocolitis with enhanced Th1 responses in mice. In this study, we analyzed the mechanism by which a Stat3 deficiency in myeloid cells led to the induction of chronic enterocolitis in vivo. Even in the absence of Stat1, which is essential for IFN-gamma signaling pathways, Stat3 mutant mice developed chronic enterocolitis. TNF-alpha/Stat3 double-mutant mice developed severe chronic enterocolitis with enhanced Th1 cell development. IL-12p40/Stat3 double-mutant mice, however, showed normal Th1 responses and no inflammatory change in the colon. RAG2/Stat3 double-mutant mice did not develop enterocolitis, either. These findings indicate that overproduction of IL-12p40, which induces potent Th1 responses, is essential for the development of chronic enterocolitis in Stat3 mutant mice. Furthermore, enterocolitis was significantly improved and IFN-gamma production by T cells was reduced in TLR4/Stat3 double-mutant mice, indicating that TLR4-mediated recognition of microbial components triggers aberrant IL-12p40 production by myeloid cells, leading to the development of enterocolitis. Thus, this study clearly established a sequential innate and acquired immune mechanism for the development of Th1-dependent enterocolitis.

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