Expression of Interleukin-22 in Myasthenia Gravis

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IL-17 and IL-22 are implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. The roles of IL-22 in the pathophysiology of myasthenia gravis (MG) remain unsettled. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible relationship between serum IL-22, IL-17 levels, anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody (anti-AChR Ab) titres and clinical parameters in patients with MG. The serum IL-22, IL-17 levels and anti-AChR Ab titres were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), while the expression of IL-22 and IL-17 mRNAs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy and MG subjects were detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Furthermore, PBMC from 12 patients with generalized MG were purified and treated with recombinant human IL-22 (rhIL-22), the IL-17 levels of supernatant were detected by ELISA. We found that the IL-17 levels were significantly increased, but IL-22 levels were significantly decreased in the serum of patients with MG compared with healthy controls. Consistantly, a significant decrease in IL-22 mRNA levels and an increase in IL-17 mRNA levels were detected in PBMC collected from patients with MG, compared with healthy controls. A negative correlation between IL-22 mRNA in PBMC, serum IL-22 and serum anti-AChR Ab levels was found in patients with MG. Moreover, in cultured MG PBMC treated with recombinant human IL-22 (rhIL-22), the IL-17 levels were decreased in a dose-dependent manner. Our findings indicated a possible role of IL-22 as a protective factor in MG.

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