In vivo consequences of liver-specific interleukin-22 expression in mice: Implications for human liver disease progression

Ogyi Park, Hua Wang, Honglei Weng, Lionel Feigenbaum, Hai Li, Shi Yin, Sung Hwan Ki, Seong Ho Yoo, Steven Dooley, Fu Sheng Wang, Howard A. Young, Bin Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Interleukin-22 (IL-22), which acts as either a proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory cytokine in various disease models, is markedly up-regulated in chronic liver diseases, including hepatitis B and C. In this report, we demonstrate a strong correlation between IL-22 expression in the liver with active, inflammatory human liver disease. To clarify the role of IL-22 up-regulation in the pathogenesis of liver diseases, liver-specific IL-22 transgenic (IL-22TG) mice, under the control of albumin promoter, were developed. Despite elevated IL-22 serum levels ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 pg/mL, IL-22TG mice developed normally without obvious adverse phenotypes or evidence of chronic inflammation (except for slightly thicker epidermis and minor inflammation of the skin) compared with wild-type mice. Interestingly, IL-22TG mice were completely resistant to concanavalin A-induced T cell hepatitis with minimal effect on liver inflammation and had accelerated liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Although they did not spontaneously develop liver tumors, IL-22TG mice were more susceptible to diethylnitrosamine-induced liver cancer. Microarray analyses revealed that a variety of antioxidant, mitogenic, acute phase genes were up-regulated in the livers of IL-22TG mice compared with those from wild-type mice. Conclusion: These findings indicate that localized production of IL-22 in the liver promotes hepatocyte survival and proliferation but primes the liver to be more susceptible to tumor development without significantly affecting liver inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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