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J Leukoc Biol. 1997 Jan;61(1):80-7.

Regulation of T cell-dependent and -independent IL-12 production by the three Th2-type cytokines IL-10, IL-6, and IL-4.

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Biomedical Research Center, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


The production of IL-12 by macrophages/dendritic cells (Mphi/DC) is mediated either by a T cell-dependent pathway that is induced primarily by the interaction of CD40 ligand (CD40L) on activated T cells with CD40 on IL-12-producing cells or by a T cell-independent pathway that is induced by bacteria or bacterial products and enhanced by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). In this study we investigated the ability of the Th2-type cytokines interleukin (IL)-10, IL-6, and IL-4 to modulate IL-12 production in Mphi/DC induced through the two pathways. IL-12 production was induced in Mphi/DC from normal mice by stimulation with the combination of IFN-gamma plus lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I (a model for the T cell-independent pathway) or by co-culture with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with the CD40L (a model for the T cell-dependent pathway). The effects of three Th2-type cytokines on IL-12 production by Mphi/DC through the two pathways were examined. IL-10 inhibited IL-12 production induced through both pathways, although the inhibitory effect was more potent on the (IFN-gamma + LPS)-induced pathway. IL-6 inhibited only (LPS + IFN-gamma)-induced IL-12 production. The effect of IL-4 was particularly noteworthy: this cytokine inhibited (LPS + IFN-gamma)-induced IL-12 production, whereas it potentiated the production of IL-12 induced by CD40L. Regulation of IL-12 protein production by IL-10 and IL-4 was found to correspond to the levels of mRNA accumulation for the p40 and p35 IL-12 genes, whereas the presence of IL-6 during stimulation decreased IL-12 protein production without affecting steady-state mRNA levels. These results indicate that IL-12 production in Mphi/DC induced through a T cell-dependent or -independent pathway is positively or negatively regulated by particular cytokines at various control levels.

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