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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 May 27;94(11):5814-9.

Keratinocyte expression of the type 2 interleukin 1 receptor mediates local and specific inhibition of interleukin 1-mediated inflammation.

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  • 1Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Harvard Skin Disease Research Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Epidermal keratinocytes can express two types of interleukin 1 (IL-1) receptors: IL-1R1, which is active in signal transduction, and the less well characterized IL-1R2, which is incapable of transducing a signal and can be shed from cells. The binding of IL-1 in solution by IL-1R2 has been demonstrated, and it has been proposed to inhibit IL-1-mediated responses through this mechanism. We and others have reported that keratinocytes can be induced to express IL-1R2 both in vitro and in vivo, often under conditions that also favor IL-1 gene expression. We hypothesized that production of IL-1R2 by keratinocytes would be an efficient means to achieve local inhibition of IL-1-mediated responses without systemic consequences. To test this hypothesis, we have generated transgenic mice that constitutively express IL-1R2 on basal keratinocytes. Keratinocytes cultured from these animals shed the soluble form of the receptor into culture supernatants, and IL-1-inducible production of granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor was markedly inhibited. In vivo, acute cutaneous vascular leakage, as well as chronic inflammation induced by a well characterized IL-1-dependent stimulus, was significantly inhibited in IL-1R2 transgenic animals. In contrast, contact hypersensitivity was unaffected, suggesting that overexpression of IL-1R2 did not inhibit all types of inflammation globally. Finally, systemic injection of IL-1 induced equivalent levels of plasma IL-6 in IL-1R2 transgenic and nontransgenic mice, suggesting that the activity of the transgenic IL-1R2 remained predominantly local and did not influence systemic IL-1 responses. We conclude that tissue-specific production of IL-1R2 can mediate IL-1 antagonism in tissue microenvironments without systemic consequences. Our transgenic mice may be a useful tool for determining the degree to which different types of cutaneous inflammation depend on the IL-1 system.

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