Interleukin-34 Ameliorates Survival and Bacterial Clearance in Polymicrobial Sepsis*

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Sepsis is a devastating condition with a high mortality rate and limited treatments. Sepsis is characterized by a failed host immune response to contain the infection, resulting in organ dysfunction. Interleukin-34 is new cytokine involved in infection and immunity. Whether interleukin-34 is beneficial or deleterious to sepsis and the underlying mechanisms remains unknown.


Prospective randomized animal investigation and in vitro studies.


Research laboratory at a university hospital.


Wild-type C57BL/6 mice were used for in vivo studies, and septic human patients and healthy human subjects were used to obtain blood for in vitro studies.


Interleukin-34 concentrations were measured in human sepsis patients and healthy individuals. The effects of interleukin-34 administration on survival, bacterial burden, organ injury, and inflammatory response were assessed in a murine model of cecal ligation and puncture–induced polymicrobial sepsis.

Measurements and Main Results:

Interleukin-34 levels were significantly elevated in human sepsis and cecal ligation and puncture–induced experimental sepsis. Interleukin-34 administration improved survival and bacterial clearance, although suppressed vascular leakage and organ injury after cecal ligation and puncture–induced polymicrobial sepsis. Neutralization of interleukin-34 increased mortality rate and decreased bacterial clearance in septic mice. An increased neutrophil and macrophage influx were developed in interleukin-34–treated mice at the site of infection, accompanied by elevated production of neutrophil chemokine chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 and macrophage chemokine C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 in the peritoneal cavity. Depletion of neutrophils or macrophages reversed interleukin-34–mediated protection against polymicrobial sepsis.


We reported for the first time a potential therapeutic role for interleukin-34 in sepsis and suggested that interleukin-34 is a novel target for the development of therapeutic agents against sepsis.

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