Expression of IL-22 is induced in several human inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Expression of the IL-22 receptor is restricted to innate immune cells; however, the role of IL-22 in colitis has not yet been defined. We developed what we believe to be a novel microinjection-based local gene-delivery system that is capable of targeting the inflamed intestine. Using this approach, we demonstrated a therapeutic potency for IL-22–mediated activation of the innate immune pathway in a mouse model of Th2-mediated colitis that induces disease with characteristics similar to that of IBD ulcerative colitis (UC). IL-22 gene delivery enhanced STAT3 activation specifically within colonic epithelial cells and induced both STAT3-dependent expression of mucus-associated molecules and restitution of mucus-producing goblet cells. Importantly, IL-22 gene delivery led to rapid amelioration of local intestinal inflammation. The amelioration of disease by IL-22 was mediated by enhanced mucus production. In addition, local gene delivery was used to inhibit IL-22 activity through overexpression of IL-22–binding protein. Treatment with IL-22–binding protein suppressed goblet cell restitution during the recovery phase of a dextran sulfate sodium–induced model of acute colitis. These data demonstrate what we believe to be a novel function for IL-22 in the intestine and suggest the potency of a local IL-22 gene–delivery system for treating UC.
Ken Sugimoto, Atsuhiro Ogawa, Emiko Mizoguchi, Yasuyo Shimomura, Akira Andoh, Atul K. Bhan, Richard S. Blumberg, Ramnik J. Xavier, Atsushi Mizoguchi
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.