Upregulated interleukins (IL-6, IL-10, and IL-13) in immunoglobulin G4-related aortic aneurysm patients

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Objective:Immunoglobulin (Ig) G4-related aortic aneurysms (IgG4-AAs) are a special aortic aneurysm among IgG4-related diseases (IgG4-RDs), which are inflammatory and fibrous conditions characterized by tumorous swelling of affected organs and high serum IgG4 concentrations. Recently, IgG4-RD pathogenesis was shown to be associated with T-helper-2 (Th2) and regulatory T (Treg) dominant cytokine production, such as interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and IL-13. IL-6 is a key proinflammatory cytokine contributing to lymphocyte and plasmacyte maturation and to atherosclerosis and aneurysm development. We serologically and histopathologically evaluated the cytokine profile in IgG4-AA patients.Methods:Patients with IgG4-AAs (n = 10), non-IgG4-related inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysms (non-IgG4-AAAs; n = 5), atherosclerotic AAAs (aAAAs; n = 10), and normal aortas without dilatation (n = 10) were examined for serum IL-10, IL-13, and IL-6 levels. Resected aortic tissues were evaluated for cluster of differentiation (CD) 34 (in the endothelial cells and mesenchymal cells) and CD163 (by macrophages) expression using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization.Results:Serum IL-10 levels were rather higher in IgG4-AA patients (median, 1.3 pg/mL) than in non-IgG4-AAA and aAAA patients and in patients with normal aortas. Elevated serum IL-13 levels relative to standard values were detected in two IgG4-AA patients but not in the other groups. Cells immunopositive for IL-10 and IL-13 were more frequent in IgG4-AAs and significantly correlated with serum IgG4 levels. Serum IL-6 levels (median, 78.5 pg/mL) were also significantly higher in IgG4-AA patients than in non-IgG4-AAA and aAAA patients and control patients with normal aortas (P = .01, P = .001, and P = .004, respectively). They positively correlated with serum IgG4 levels and adventitial thickness, but other cytokines did not. The number of IL-6-immunopositive cells in the adventitia was significantly higher in IgG4-AA patients (median, 17.8/high-power field) than in aAAA patients or patients with normal aortas (P =.001 and P = .002, respectively). In situ hybridization confirmed frequent IL-6 messenger (m)RNA expression in the endothelium, mesenchymal cells, and histiocytes in IgG4-AA adventitia. In the same cells of IgG4-AAs, coexpression of IL-6 and CD34 mRNA or CD163 mRNA was detected.Conclusions:The cytokine profiles of IgG4-AA patients had two characteristics: local IL-10 and IL-13 upregulation in IgG4-AAs was related to Th2 and Treg-predominant cytokine balance, similar to other IgG4-RDs, and IL-6 upregulation in the adventitia was characterized by activated immune reactions in IgG4-AA patients. IL-6 synthesis, through contributions of mesenchymal cells and macrophages in the adventitia, is strongly involved in IgG4-AA pathogenesis or progression, or both.Clinical Relevance:Interleukin (IL) 10 and IL-13 upregulation in the aortic adventitia reflected T-helper-2 and regulatory T immune reactions in immunoglobulin (Ig) G4-related aortic aneurysms (IgG4-AAs) similar to other IgG4-related diseases. Furthermore, IgG4-AA was characterized by IL-6 upregulation. In IgG4-AA, serum IL-6 correlated with serum IgG4 and adventitial thickness. Multiple cell populations, including the endothelium, mesenchymal cells, and macrophages in the adventitia, additionally contributed to the hyper-IL-6 syndrome in IgG4-AA. Local IL-6 synthesis in IgG4-AA adventitia may play a role in disease pathogenesis and progression. Serum IL-6 would be a useful biomarker for disease activity, and an IL-6 inhibitor may serve as a new effective therapy for IgG4-AA.

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