A pathogenic role for T cell–derived IL-22BP in inflammatory bowel disease

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Science  21 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 358-362
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5903

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Intestinal inflammation can impair mucosal healing, thereby establishing a vicious cycle leading to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the signaling networks driving chronic inflammation remain unclear. Here we report that CD4+ T cells isolated from patients with IBD produce high levels of interleukin-22 binding protein (IL-22BP), the endogenous inhibitor of the tissue-protective cytokine IL-22. Using mouse models, we demonstrate that IBD development requires T cell–derived IL-22BP. Lastly, intestinal CD4+ T cells isolated from IBD patients responsive to treatment with antibodies against tumor necrosis factor–α (anti–TNF-α), the most effective known IBD therapy, exhibited reduced amounts of IL-22BP expression but still expressed IL-22. Our findings suggest that anti–TNF-α therapy may act at least in part by suppressing IL-22BP and point toward a more specific potential therapy for IBD.

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