Increased Expressions of IL-22 and Th22 cells in the coxsackievirus B3-Induced mice acute viral myocarditis
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Virology Journal 2012, 9:232 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-232Published: 11 October 2012
Recently, a new subset of T helper (Th) cell that predominantly secret cytokine interleukin-22 (IL-22) is identified, termed Th22 cells. The Th22 subset has been demonstrated to be involved in immunity and tissue inflammation. However, the existence of Th22 cells and role of IL-22 in acute viral myocarditis (AVMC) remain unknown.
BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally (i.p) infected with CVB3 for establishing AVMC models. Control mice were treated with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) i.p. On day 14 post injection, frequencies of splenic Th22 cells were determined, productions of IL-22 and expressions of IL-22R (IL-22 receptor) were measured. To further investigate the effects of IL-22, AVMC mice treated with Anti-IL-22 neutralizing antibody were explored. The severity of AVMC were monitored; the frequencies of Th22 cells, the expressions of IL-22 and IL-22R were investigated; in addition to IFN-γ, inflammatory cytokines IL-17, TNF-α, IL-6 as well as IL-1β, were evaluated. Cardiac viral replication were detected.
Compared with control group, significant elevations of circulating Th22 cells and IL-22, cardiac protein and mRNA of IL-22, and IL-22R1 were demonstrated in AVMC group. Treatment of AVMC mice with Anti-IL-22 Ab exacerbated the severity of viral myocarditis, verified by lower survival rate, higher HW/BW ratios and cardiac pathological scores. Anti-IL-22 Ab decreased the frequencies of Th22 cells and the levels of IL-22, and increased the expressions of cardiac IL-22R1. Up-regulations of IL-17, IL-6 and TNF-α, down-regulations of IFN-γ proteins and gene expressions in the plasma and myocardium, were observed in Anti-IL-22 Ab group. Furthermore, neutralization of IL-22 significantly promoted cardiac viral replication.
Our data indicate that the increased frequencies of IL-22-producing Th22 cells may play an important role in the pathogenesis of CVB3-induced mice AVMC, IL-22 may act as an myocardium-protective cytokine via the IL-22–IL-22R pathway, and suggest that targeting the Th22 cell and IL-22–IL-22R pathway could provide new therapeutic modalities for the treatment of CVB3-induced AVMC.