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Lab Invest. 2004 Nov;84(11):1491-500.

IL-12 p40 prevents the development of chronic enterocolitis in IL-10-deficient mice.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


T-helper-1 (Th1) cytokines play an important role in Crohn's disease, and interleukin-12 (IL-12), which is composed of two subunits, p40 and p35, drives Th1 differentiation. In previous reports, IL-12 p40 was shown to prevent IL-12 from binding to the receptor. We demonstrate here the effect of IL-12 p40 overexpression in intestinal epithelia on enterocolitis mediated by Th1 cells in IL-10-deficient (IL-10(-/-)) mice on a C57BL/6J background. IL-10 deficient (IL-10(-/-))/T3b-IL-12 p40+ (IL-12 p40+) mice and IL-10(-/-)/T3b-IL-12 p40- (IL-12 p40-) mice were generated by crossing T3b-IL-12 p40 transgenic mice and IL-10(-/-) mice. At 8 weeks of age, IL-12 p40+ mice did not show any clinical manifestations of colitis. The colon length of IL-12 p40- mice became shorter than that of IL-12 p40+ mice. The histological score of IL-12 p40+ mice was lower. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production was suppressed in both the mesenteric lymph node cell culture and colon tissue culture of IL-12 p40+ mice. There was no significant difference in IL-4 production and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production between the two groups. These results show that overexpression of IL-12 p40 in intestinal epithelia prevents enterocolitis in IL-10(-/-) mice by suppressing IFN-gamma production, and suggest a potential clinical application of IL-12 p40 for Crohn's disease. Furthermore, these results also suggest that local gene transduction in the intestinal epithelium may be a potent therapeutic approach for Crohn's disease.

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