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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prior elevation of IL-18 promotes rapid early IFN-gamma production during staphylococcal infection.

Systemic Staphylococcus aureus infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality arising from both bacterial and host immune factors. IL-18 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine of the IL-1 superfamily that exhibits broad functional effects in innate and acquired immune responses and which has been found in high levels in several chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Over-expression of IL-18 may promote early resolution of infection or could promote a detrimental exaggerated immune response. This was explored in a model of S. aureus infection. We report increased mortality in Swiss mice that were given recombinant IL-18 prior to inoculation with S. aureus LS-1. IL-18 administration prior to infection induced preferentially enhanced IFN-gamma mRNA expression in peripheral blood leukocytes and spleen, especially splenic NK cells. This correlated with increased IFN-gamma protein detection in serum, and leukocyte and spleen cultures at subsequent discrete time points. These data suggest that increased mortality following gram-positive infection in autoimmune diseases could in part reflect the impact of high levels of pleiotropic pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-18 present prior to the onset of infection.[1]


  1. Prior elevation of IL-18 promotes rapid early IFN-gamma production during staphylococcal infection. Culshaw, S., Leung, B.P., Gracie, J.A., Campbell, C.C., Thomson, D., Gemmell, C., Liew, F.Y., McInnes, I.B. Eur. J. Immunol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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