Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a unique cytokine that modulates both TH1/TH2 responses, but its ability to modulate diseases through induction of TH2 cytokines is unclear. It has been shown to play an important role in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Because immune responses of allogeneic BM donors may affect acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), we investigated the effect of pretreating BM transplant donors with IL-18 on the severity of acute GVHD using a well-characterized experimental BMT model (BALB/c→B6). Pretreatment of allogeneic BM transplant donors with IL-18 significantly improved survival (80% vs 0%; P < .001), and reduced clinical, biochemical, and pathologic indices of acute GVHD in BM transplant recipients. IL-18 pretreatment was associated with reduced interferon γ (IFN-γ) and greater IL-4 secretion by donor T cells after BMT. Acute GVHD mortality was reduced when IL-18 was administered to donors deficient in IFN-γ and signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) but not STAT6 signaling molecules, suggesting a critical role for STAT6 signaling in IL-18's protective effect. IL-18 treatment did not alter donor CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activity and preserved graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects after allogeneic BMT (70% vs 10%; P < .01). Together these data illustrate that pretreatment of donors with IL-18 prior to allogeneic BMT attenuates acute GVHD in a STAT6-dependent mechanism while preserving GVL effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology