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Hum Gene Ther. 2004 Jul;15(7):691-8.

Interleukin 13 gene transfer in liver ischemia and reperfusion injury: role of Stat6 and TLR4 pathways in cytoprotection.

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Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation, Dumont-UCLA Transplant Center, Department of Surgery, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI) represents the major problem in clinical liver transplantation. We have shown that transcription of signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (Stat4) plays a key role in the mechanism of hepatic IRI, whereas local induction of interleukin 13 (IL-13) is cytoprotective. The disruption of innate Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling prevents mouse livers from undergoing fulminant IRI. This study analyzes in vivo interplay between innate (TLR4) and adaptive (Stat6) immunity in Ad-IL-13 (recombinant adenovirus encoding IL-13) cytoprotection in hepatic IRI. Using a partial 90-min lobar warm ischemia model, groups of wild-type and Stat6-deficient knockout mice were assessed for the severity of hepatocellular damage at 6 hr postreperfusion. Unlike in wild-type mice, treatment of Stat6 knockout recipients with Ad-IL-13 failed to improve hepatic function/histology. The expression of mRNAs encoding tumor necrosis factor alpha/IL-1 beta and IL-2/interferon gamma remained depressed in the wild-type plus Ad-IL-13 group, but not in the Stat6 knockout plus Ad-IL-13 group. Ad-IL-13 increased antioxidant heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) expression and prevented TLR4 activation in livers of Stat6-competent (wild-type) mice. In contrast, low HO-1 expression and enhanced TLR4 expression were recorded in Stat6 knockout recipients despite Ad-IL-13 therapy. Thus (1) Stat6 is required for Ad-IL-13 to prevent IRI, and (2) depression of TLR4 activation is Stat6 dependent. In conclusion, the Stat6 pathway operates as a key negative regulator in the hepatic inflammatory ischemia-reperfusion response. This study outlines requirements for Ad-IL-13 use to maximize the organ donor pool through the use of liver transplants despite prolonged ischemia.

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