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J Immunol. 1997 Aug 1;159(3):1537-42.

Requirement of IL-4 and liver NK1+ T cells for concanavalin A-induced hepatic injury in mice.

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Department of Immunology, Niigata University School of Medicine, Japan.


Con A-induced hepatic injury of mice accompanied by elevated transaminase was inhibited after in vivo depletion of liver NK cells and NK1+ T cells with intermediate TCR by anti-NK1 Ab or anti-IL-2Rbeta Ab. However, depletion of liver NK cells alone by anti-asialo-GM1 Ab did not inhibit hepatic injury. Although depletion of NK1+ T cells inhibited Con A-induced IL-2R expression of CD4+ high TCR (TCRhigh) cells and IL-4 mRNA expression of hepatic mononuclear cells, exogenous IL-4 engendered Con A-induced hepatic injury and endowed the expression of IL-2R of CD4+ TCRhigh cells. It was also found that in vivo treatment with anti-IL-4 Ab before Con A administration inhibited Con A-induced hepatic injury. In addition, although Con A did not induce hepatic injury in MHC class I-deficient mice, exogenous IL-4 again engendered severe hepatic injury in these mice. Further, while serum TNF-alpha levels induced by Con A were greatly decreased in NK1+ T cell-depleted mice and class I-deficient mice, TNF-alpha levels were recovered by exogenous IL-4. These findings reveal that although CD4+ TCRhigh cells in the liver and their production of TNF-alpha are the direct effectors of Con A-induced hepatic injury, liver NK1+ T cells also play an important role in this hepatitis model. Con A hepatitis may serve as an experimental model for human autoimmune hepatitis.

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