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Eur J Immunol. 2008 May;38(5):1204-14. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838145.

Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 3 negatively regulates IL-17, IL-22 and RORgamma t.

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Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Ridgefield, CT 06877, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus-induced gene 3 (EBI3) associates with p28 to form IL-27 and with IL-12p35 to form IL-35. IL-27Ralpha(-/-) mice studies indicate that IL-27 negatively regulates Th17 cell differentiation. However, no EBI3, p28 or p35-deficiency studies that directly address the role of EBI3, p28 or p35 on Th17 cells have been done. Here, we demonstrate that spleen cells derived from EBI3(-/-) mice produce significantly higher levels of IL-17 as well as IL-22 upon stimulation with OVA. In vitro derived EBI3(-/-) Th17 cells also produced significantly higher levels of IL-17 and IL-22 than WT cells. The frequency of IL-17-producing cells was also elevated when EBI3(-/-) cells were cultured under Th17 conditions. In addition, spleen cells from EBI3(-/-) mice immunized with Listeria monocytogenes produced significantly elevated levels of IL-17 and IL-22. Furthermore, the Th17 transcription factor RORgamma t was significantly enhanced in EBI3(-/-) cells. Finally, EBI3(-/-) mice exhibited a reduced bacterial load following an acute challenge with L. monocytogenes or a re-challenge of previously immunized mice, suggesting that EBI3 negatively regulates both innate and adaptive immunity. Taken together, these data provide direct evidence that EBI3 negatively regulates the expression of IL-17, IL-22 and RORgamma t as well as protective immunity against L. monocytogenes.

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