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Open Access Research article

Decreased interleukin 27 expression is associated with active uveitis in Behçet’s disease

Chaokui Wang1, Yuan Tian1, Zi Ye1, Aize Kijlstra2, Yan Zhou1 and Peizeng Yang1*

Author Affiliations

1 First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing Key Lab of Ophthalmology, Chongqing Eye Institute, Youyi Road 1, Chongqing 400016, People’s Republic of China

2 University Eye Clinic Maastricht, P. Debyelaan 25, 6229 HX Maastricht, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R117  doi:10.1186/ar4570

Published: 28 May 2014

Abstract

Instruction

Interleukin 27 (IL-27) is an important regulator of the proinflammatory T-cell response. In this study, we investigated its role in the pathogenesis of Behçet’s disease (BD).

Methods

IL-27 mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was examined by performing RT-PCRs. Cytokine levels in sera or supernatants of PBMCs, naïve CD4+ T cells, dendritic cells (DCs) and DC/T cells were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used RNA interference in naïve CD4+ T cells to study the role of interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) in the inhibitory effect of IL-27 on Th17 cell differentiation. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate the frequency of IL-17- and interferon γ–producing T cells.

Results

The expression of IL-27p28 mRNA by PBMCs and IL-27 in the sera and supernatants of cultured PBMCs were markedly decreased in patients with active BD. A higher frequency of IL-17-producing CD4+ T (Th17) cells and increased IL-17 production under Th17 polarizing conditions were observed in patients with active BD. IL-27 significantly inhibited Th17 cell differentiation. Downregulation of IRF8 by RNA interference abrogated the suppressive effect of IL-27 on Th17 differentiation. IL-27 inhibited the production of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-23, but promoted IL-10 production, by DCs. IL-27-treated DCs inhibited both the Th1 and Th17 cell responses.

Conclusions

The results of the present study suggest that a decreased IL-27 expression is associated with disease activity in BD patients. Low IL-27 expression may result in a higher Th1 and Th17 cell response and thereby promote the autoinflammatory reaction observed in BD. Manipulation of IL-27 may offer a new treatment modality for this disease.