IL-13 is an important mediator of inflammation and remodeling. We hypothesized that adenosine accumulation, alterations in adenosine receptors, and adenosine-IL-13 autoinduction are critical events in IL-13-induced pathologies. To test this, we characterized the effects of IL-13 overexpression on the levels of adenosine, adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity, and adenosine receptors in the murine lung. We also determined whether adenosine induced IL-13 in lungs from ADA-null mice. IL-13 induced an inflammatory and remodeling response that caused respiratory failure and death. During this response, IL-13 caused a progressive increase in adenosine accumulation, inhibited ADA activity and mRNA accumulation, and augmented the expression of the A1, A 2B, and A3 but not the A2A adenosine receptors. ADA enzyme therapy diminished the IL-13-induced increase in adencsine, inhibited IL-13-induced inflammation, chemokine elaboration, fibrosis, and alveolar destruction, and prolonged the survival of IL-13-transgenic animals. In addition, IL-13 was strongly induced by adenosine in ADA-null mice. These findings demonstrate that adenosine and adenosine signaling contribute to and influence the severity of IL-13-induced tissue responses. They also demonstrate that IL-13 and adenosine stimulate one another in an amplification pathway that may contribute to the nature, severity, progression, and/or chronicity of IL-13 and/or Th2-mediated disorders.
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