The connection between an altered gut microbiota and metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is well established. Defects in preserving the integrity of the mucosal barriers can result in systemic endotoxaemia that contributes to chronic low-grade inflammation, which further promotes the development of metabolic syndrome. Interleukin (IL)-22 exerts essential roles in eliciting antimicrobial immunity and maintaining mucosal barrier integrity within the intestine. Here we investigate the connection between IL-22 and metabolic disorders. We find that the induction of IL-22 from innate lymphoid cells and CD4(+) T cells is impaired in obese mice under various immune challenges, especially in the colon during infection with Citrobacter rodentium. While innate lymphoid cell populations are largely intact in obese mice, the upregulation of IL-23, a cytokine upstream of IL-22, is compromised during the infection. Consequently, these mice are susceptible to C. rodentium infection, and both exogenous IL-22 and IL-23 are able to restore the mucosal host defence. Importantly, we further unveil unexpected functions of IL-22 in regulating metabolism. Mice deficient in IL-22 receptor and fed with high-fat diet are prone to developing metabolic disorders. Strikingly, administration of exogenous IL-22 in genetically obese leptin-receptor-deficient (db/db) mice and mice fed with high-fat diet reverses many of the metabolic symptoms, including hyperglycaemia and insulin resistance. IL-22 shows diverse metabolic benefits, as it improves insulin sensitivity, preserves gut mucosal barrier and endocrine functions, decreases endotoxaemia and chronic inflammation, and regulates lipid metabolism in liver and adipose tissues. In summary, we identify the IL-22 pathway as a novel target for therapeutic intervention in metabolic diseases.
Paired Ig-like type 2 receptor (PILR)? inhibitory receptor and its counterpart PILR? activating receptor are coexpressed on myeloid cells. In this article, we report that PILR?, but not PILR?, is elevated in human rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue and correlates with inflammatory cell infiltration. Pilr?(-/-) mice produce more pathogenic cytokines during inflammation and are prone to enhanced autoimmune arthritis. Correspondingly, engaging PILR? with anti-PILR? mAb ameliorates inflammation in mouse arthritis models and suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Our studies suggest that PILR? mediates an important inhibitory pathway that can dampen inflammatory responses.
CD11b(+) dendritic cells (DCs) seem to be specialized for presenting antigens via major histocompatibility (MHC) class II complexes to stimulate helper T cells, but the genetic and regulatory basis for this is not established. Conditional deletion of Irf4 resulted in loss of CD11b(+) DCs, impaired formation of peptide-MHC class II complexes and defective priming of helper T cells but not of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. Gene expression and chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq) analyses delineated an IRF4-dependent regulatory module that programs enhanced MHC class II antigen presentation. Expression of the transcription factor IRF4 but not of IRF8 restored the ability of IRF4-deficient DCs to efficiently process and present antigen to MHC class II-restricted T cells and promote helper T cell responses. We propose that the evolutionary divergence of IRF4 and IRF8 facilitated the specialization of DC subsets for distinct modes of antigen presentation and priming of helper T cell versus CTL responses.
Type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2 cells) participate in host defense against helminth parasites and in allergic inflammation. Given their functional relatedness to type 2 helper T cells (T(H)2 cells), we explored whether Gfi1 acts as a shared transcriptional determinant in ILC2 cells. Gfi1 promoted the development of ILC2 cells and controlled their responsiveness during infection with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and protease allergen-induced lung inflammation. Gfi1 preferentially regulated the responsiveness of ILC2 cells to interleukin 33 (IL-33) by directly activating Il1rl1, which encodes the IL-33 receptor (ST2). Loss of Gfi1 in activated ILC2 cells resulted in impaired expression of the transcription factor GATA-3 and a dysregulated genome-wide effector state characterized by coexpression of IL-13 and IL-17. Our findings establish Gfi1 as a shared determinant that reciprocally regulates the type 2 and IL-17 effector states in cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems.
The DSS (dextran sulfate sodium) model of colitis is a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. Microscopic symptoms include loss of crypt cells from the gut lining and infiltration of inflammatory cells into the colon. An experienced pathologist requires several hours per study to score histological changes in selected regions of the mouse gut. In order to increase the efficiency of scoring, Definiens Developer software was used to devise an entirely automated method to quantify histological changes in the whole H&E slide. When the algorithm was applied to slides from historical drug-discovery studies, automated scores classified 88% of drug candidates in the same way as pathologists scores. In addition, another automated image analysis method was developed to quantify colon-infiltrating macrophages, neutrophils, B cells and T cells in immunohistochemical stains of serial sections of the H&E slides. The timing of neutrophil and macrophage infiltration had the highest correlation to pathological changes, whereas T and B cell infiltration occurred later. Thus, automated image analysis enables quantitative comparisons between tissue morphology changes and cell-infiltration dynamics.
The signaling pathway of the receptor tyrosine kinase MET and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is important for cell growth, survival, and motility and is functionally linked to the signaling pathway of VEGF, which is widely recognized as a key effector in angiogenesis and cancer progression. Dysregulation of the MET/VEGF axis is found in a number of human malignancies and has been associated with tumorigenesis. Cabozantinib (XL184) is a small-molecule kinase inhibitor with potent activity toward MET and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2), as well as a number of other receptor tyrosine kinases that have also been implicated in tumor pathobiology, including RET, KIT, AXL, and FLT3. Treatment with cabozantinib inhibited MET and VEGFR2 phosphorylation in vitro and in tumor models in vivo and led to significant reductions in cell invasion in vitro. In mouse models, cabozantinib dramatically altered tumor pathology, resulting in decreased tumor and endothelial cell proliferation coupled with increased apoptosis and dose-dependent inhibition of tumor growth in breast, lung, and glioma tumor models. Importantly, treatment with cabozantinib did not increase lung tumor burden in an experimental model of metastasis, which has been observed with inhibitors of VEGF signaling that do not target MET. Collectively, these data suggest that cabozantinib is a promising agent for inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and metastasis in cancers with dysregulated MET and VEGFR signaling.
Interleukin 17C (IL-17C) is a member of the IL-17 family that is selectively induced in epithelia by bacterial challenge and inflammatory stimuli. Here we show that IL-17C functioned in a unique autocrine manner, binding to a receptor complex consisting of the receptors IL-17RA and IL-17RE, which was preferentially expressed on tissue epithelial cells. IL-17C stimulated epithelial inflammatory responses, including the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines and antimicrobial peptides, which were similar to those induced by IL-17A and IL-17F. However, IL-17C was produced by distinct cellular sources, such as epithelial cells, in contrast to IL-17A, which was produced mainly by leukocytes, especially those of the T(H)17 subset of helper T cells. Whereas IL-17C promoted inflammation in an imiquimod-induced skin-inflammation model, it exerted protective functions in dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis. Thus, IL-17C is an essential autocrine cytokine that regulates innate epithelial immune responses.
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