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Cytokine. 2010 Feb;49(2):177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2009.09.015. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

TNFalpha and TGF-beta1 influence IL-18-induced IFNgamma production through regulation of IL-18 receptor and T-bet expression.

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Tissue Engineering and Reparative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XY, UK.


Bacterial infections can lead to a state of uncontrolled inflammation and also trigger autoimmune disease. At the centre of this are CD4(+) T cell responses in inflammatory tissues or local lymph nodes which are orchestrated by dendritic cells. IL-18 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that drives dendritic cell maturation and mediates IFNgamma production. In this study, we demonstrate that in the dendritic precursor-like cell line KG-1, IFNgamma production induced by IL-18 is potentiated (>5-fold) by TNFalpha and completely suppressed by TGF-beta1. IL-18 stimulation rapidly activates different MAPK signalling pathways but only blocking of p38 activation alleviates IFNgamma production. The mechanism through which TNFalpha enhances IL-18 induced IFNgamma production is by promoting IL-18 receptor alpha-chain expression which results in higher levels of p38 activation and induces expression of T-bet, a transcriptional regulator of the IFNG gene. In contrast, TGF-beta1 rapidly suppresses IFNgamma production by limiting IL-18 receptor numbers at the cell surface and preventing induction of T-bet expression. TGF-beta1 experience by cells leads to sustained long-term inactivation of TNFalpha/IL-18-mediated cell activation but not IL-18 induced p38 activation suggesting transcriptional silencing of the T-BET and/or IFNG promoter independent of MAPK signalling. These results demonstrate how IL-18 activity is regulated by pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines and thereby provide insight into the mechanism that controls dendritic cell activity and ultimately leads to resolution of an inflammatory response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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