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Immunity. 1998 Mar;8(3):383-90.

Defective NK cell activity and Th1 response in IL-18-deficient mice.

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Department of Biochemistry, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Japan.


IL-18 is a cytokine that is secreted from activated macrophages and induces IFNgamma production. To investigate the in vivo role of IL-18, we generated IL-18-deficient mice. In Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)-primed IL-18-deficient mice, LPS-induced IFNgamma production was markedly reduced, despite normal IL-12 induction. Natural killer cell activity was significantly impaired. Th1 cell response after injection of P. acnes or Mycobacterium bovis (bacillus Calmette-Guerin [BCG]) was significantly reduced. Similar results were observed in IL-12-deficient mice. Interestingly, Th1 response was induced after BCG infection in IL-12-deficient mice. We therefore generated mice lacking both IL-18 and IL-12. In these mice, NK activity and Th1 response were further impaired. This demonstrates the important role of both IL-18 and IL-12 in NK activity, as well as in in vivo Th1 response.

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