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Immunity. 2008 Dec 19;29(6):947-57. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.11.003.

Innate and adaptive interleukin-22 protects mice from inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520 USA.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease thought to be mediated by dysfunctional innate and/or adaptive immunity. This aberrant immune response leads to the secretion of harmful cytokines that destroy the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract and thus cause further inflammation. Interleukin-22 (IL-22) is a T helper 17 (Th17) T cell-associated cytokine that is bifunctional in that it has both proinflammatory and protective effects on tissues depending on the inflammatory context. We show herein that IL-22 protected mice from IBD. Interestingly, not only was this protection mediated by CD4+ T cells, but IL-22-expressing natural killer (NK) cells also conferred protection. In addition, IL-22 expression was differentially regulated between NK cell subsets. Thus, both the innate and adaptive immune responses have developed protective mechanisms to counteract the damaging effects of inflammation on tissues.

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