IL-18BPa:Fc cooperates with immunosuppressive drugs in human whole blood

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The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-18 appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of diseases associated with immunoactivation and inflammation. Consequently, blockage of IL-18 bioactivity by use of IL-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) is likely a promising therapeutic concept. In the present study, we investigated immunomodulatory activities of IL-18BPa:Fc in human whole blood cultures. We report that IL-18BPa:Fc (200 ng/mL) significantly inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 10 ng/mL)/IL-12 (5 ng/mL)-induced release of interferon-γ (IFNγ) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) from whole blood cultures of healthy donors. Notably, IL-18BPa:Fc (200 ng/mL) further reinforced dexamethasone (5 nM)- or mycophenolic acid (2 μM)-mediated reduction of LPS/IL-12-induced IFNγ production by an additional 50.5 or 49.9%, respectively. To investigate effects of IL-18BP:Fc in the context of autoimmune diseases, experiments were performed with whole blood obtained from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus or Wegener's granulomatosis undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. After ex vivo stimulation with LPS (10 ng/mL), production of IFNγ and MMP-9 was determined. Both mediators likely contribute to renal inflammation frequently seen in these diseases. In accord with the aforementioned data, LPS (10 ng/mL)-induced IFNγ was significantly reduced by coincubation with IL-18BPa:Fc at 200 ng/mL. IL-18BPa:Fc also inhibited production of MMP-9. The present data demonstrate that IL-18BPa:Fc has the potential to amplify anti-inflammatory actions of immunosuppressive drugs, and thus may prove to be a valuable novel pharmacological component in the treatment of human autoimmune diseases.

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