BACKGROUND: Interleukin (IL)-12p70, a heterodimeric cytokine has been considered central to induction of Th1 responses with the assistance of IL-18 and IL-27. It was predicted IL-12p70 treatment would promote allograft rejection. In these studies, IL-12p70 delayed rejection.
METHODS: We compared Piebald Virol Glaxo (PVG) neonatal heart graft survival in fully allogeneic Dark Agoutti (DA) rats treated with IL-12p70 alone or in combination with other cytokines. The mechanism by which IL-12p70 induced delayed rejection was examined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction of cytokine mRNA and studying the role of interferon (IFN)-gamma and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) that were induced by IL-12.
RESULTS: IL-12p70 treatment significantly delayed PVG neonatal heart graft rejection compared to normal rejection control and other control groups treated with supernatant from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-K1 cells transfected with IL-12p35, IL-12p40, or no cytokine gene. IL-12p70 had no effect on alloantibody response. IFN-gamma and iNOS mRNA expression was increased in heart graft and regional lymph node compared to normal rejection and other treatment groups, consistent with Th1 response induction. IL-12p35 mRNA expression decreased in IL-12p70 treated rats but there was no difference in IL-12p40, Th2, or Tr1 cytokine mRNA expression. Coadministration of an iNOS inhibitor, L-NIL, or a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that blocks IFN-gamma, inhibited IL-12p70's ability to prolong allograft survival; as did co-treatment with IL-4 but not IL-13.
CONCLUSIONS: IL-12p70 treatment may inhibit rejection by hyperinduction of Th1 responses, especially production of IFN-gamma and nitric oxide. These effects may be by enhancing regulatory T-cell responses or by the activation of iNOS in macrophages to produce excessive nitric oxide that in turn inhibits alloimmune responses.
- Animals, Newborn
- Crosses, Genetic
- Graft Survival
- Heart Transplantation
- Models, Animal
- Nitric Oxide
- RNA, Messenger
- Rats, Inbred Strains
- Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
- Transplantation, Homologous
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't