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Free Content Retinal cells suppress intraocular inflammation (uveitis) through production of interleukin-27 and interleukin-10

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Neuronal or photoreceptor deficit observed in uveitis and multiple sclerosis derives in part from inability to control inflammatory responses in neuroretina or brain. Recently, IL-27 was found to play a role in suppressing experimental autoimmune uveitis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, two animal models that share essential pathological features of human uveitis and multiple sclerosis, respectively. However, the mechanism by which interleukin-27 (IL-27) inhibits central nervous system (CNS) inflammation is not clear. In this study we have investigated mechanisms that mitigate or curtail intraocular inflammation (uveitis) and examined whether inhibitory effects of IL-27 are mediated locally by neuroretinal cells or by regulatory T cells. We show here that microglia cells in the neuroretina constitutively secrete IL-27 and its expression is up-regulated during uveitis. We further show that photoreceptors constitutively express IL-27 receptor and respond to IL-27 signalling by producing anti-inflammatory molecules, IL-10 and suppressor of cytokine signalling 1 (SOCS1) through signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) -dependent mechanisms. Moreover, STAT1-deficient mice produced reduced amounts of IL-27, IL-10 and SOCS1 and developed more severe uveitis. Surprisingly, IL-10-producing regulatory T cells had marginal roles in suppressing uveitis. These results suggest that suppression of intraocular inflammation might be mediated through endogenous production of IL-27 and IL-10 by retinal cells, whereas SOCS proteins induced by IL-27 during uveitis may function to protect the neuroretinal cells from the toxic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Targeted delivery of IL-27 into immune privileged tissues of the CNS may therefore be beneficial in the treatment of CNS inflammatory diseases, such as uveitis and multiple sclerosis.
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Keywords: cytokine; interleukin-10; interleukin-27; intraocular inflammatory diseases; microglia; retina; signal transducer and activator of transcription 1

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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