Uncontrolled mucosal immunity in the gastrointestinal tract of humans results in chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. In early clinical trials as well as in animal models, IL-12 has been implicated as a major mediator of these diseases based on the ability of anti-p40 mAb treatment to reverse intestinal inflammation. The cytokine IL-23 shares the same p40 subunit with IL-12, and the anti-p40 mAbs used in human and mouse IBD studies neutralized the activities of both IL-12 and IL-23. IL-10–deficient mice spontaneously develop enterocolitis. To determine how IL-23 contributes to intestinal inflammation, we studied the disease susceptibility in the absence of either IL-23 or IL-12 in this model, as well as the ability of recombinant IL-23 to exacerbate IBD induced by T cell transfer. Our study shows that in these models, IL-23 is essential for manifestation of chronic intestinal inflammation, whereas IL-12 is not. A critical target of IL-23 is a unique subset of tissue-homing memory T cells, which are specifically activated by IL-23 to produce the proinflammatory mediators IL-17 and IL-6. This pathway may be responsible for chronic intestinal inflammation as well as other chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases.
David Yen, Jeanne Cheung, Heleen Scheerens, Frédérique Poulet, Terrill McClanahan, Brent Mckenzie, Melanie A. Kleinschek, Alex Owyang, Jeanine Mattson, Wendy Blumenschein, Erin Murphy, Manjiri Sathe, Daniel J. Cua, Robert A. Kastelein, Donna Rennick
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.