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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Apr;292(4):G1019-28. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

IL-22-mediated liver cell regeneration is abrogated by SOCS-1/3 overexpression in vitro.

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Department of Medicine II, University-Hospital Munich-Grosshadern and University of Munich, Marchioninistrasse 15, 81377 Munich, Germany.


The IL-10-like cytokine IL-22 is produced by activated T cells. In this study, we analyzed the role of this cytokine system in hepatic cells. Expression studies were performed by RT-PCR and quantitative PCR. Signal transduction was analyzed by Western blot experiments and ELISA. Cell proliferation was measured by MTS and [(3)H]thymidine incorporation assays. Hepatocyte regeneration was studied in in vitro restitution assays. Binding of IL-22 to its receptor complex expressed on human hepatic cells and primary human hepatocytes resulted in the activation of MAPKs, Akt, and STAT proteins. IL-22 stimulated cell proliferation and migration, which were both significantly inhibited by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin. IL-22 increased the mRNA expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 and the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-alpha. SOCS-1/3 overexpression abrogated IL-22-induced STAT activation and decreased IL-22-mediated liver cell regeneration. Hepatic IL-22 mRNA expression was detectable in different forms of human hepatitis, and hepatic IL-22 mRNA levels were increased in murine T cell-mediated hepatitis in vivo following cytomegalovirus infection, whereas no significant differences were seen in an in vivo model of ischemia-reperfusion injury. In conclusion, IL-22 promotes liver cell regeneration by increasing hepatic cell proliferation and hepatocyte migration through the activation of Akt and STAT signaling, which is abrogated by SOCS-1/3 overexpression.

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