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T-helper cell type 2 (Th2) memory T cell-potentiating cytokine IL-25 has the potential to promote angiogenesis in asthma

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  • Chris J. Corrigan
  • Wei Wang
  • Qiu Meng
  • Cailong Fang
  • Huifen Wu
  • Victoria Reay
  • Ze Lv
  • Yiqiang Fan
  • Yunqing An
  • Yui-Hsi Wang
  • Yong-Jun Liu
  • Tak H. Lee
  • Sun Ying
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/01/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)1579-1584
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


IL-25 (IL-17E) is a T-helper cell type 2 (Th2) cytokine best described as a potentiator of Th2 memory responses. Reports of expression of its receptor, IL-25R, on airways structural cells suggest a wider role for IL-25 in remodeling. We hypothesized that IL-25 stimulates local angiogenesis in the asthmatic bronchial mucosa. Immunoreactive IL-25(+), IL-25R(+), and CD31(+) (endothelial) cells in sections of bronchial biopsies from asthmatics and controls were detected by immunohistochemistry. The effect of IL-25 on angiogenesis was examined using an in vitro assay. Real-time PCR was used to detect expression of IL-25R and VEGF mRNA in cultured human vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC), and a cell proliferation kit (WST-8) was used to measure the effect of IL-25 on HUVEC proliferation. Immunostaining showed that IL-25(+), IL-25R(+), and CD31(+)/IL-25R(+) cells were significantly elevated in the bronchial mucosa of asthmatics compared with controls (P <0.003). In asthmatics, the numbers of IL-25(+) cells correlated inversely with the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (r = -0.639; P = 0.01). In vitro, HUVEC constitutively expressed IL-25R, which was up-regulated further by TNF-alpha. IL-25 and TNF-alpha also increased expression of VEGF and VEGF receptors. IL-25 increased HUVEC proliferation and the number, length, and area of microvessel structures in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro. VEGF blockade, the PI3K-specific inhibitor LY294002, and the MAPK/ERK1/2 (MEK1/2)-specific inhibitor U0126 all markedly attenuated IL-25-induced angiogenesis, and the inhibitors also reduced IL-25-induced proliferation and VEGF expression. Our findings suggest that IL-25 is elevated in asthma and contributes to angiogenesis, at least partly by increasing endothelial cell VEGF/VEGF receptor expression through PI3K/Akt and Erk/MAPK pathways.