IL-27 Suppresses Antimicrobial Activity in Human Leprosy.
The mechanisms by which intracellular pathogens trigger immunosuppressive pathways are critical for understanding the pathogenesis of microbial infection. One pathway that inhibits host defense responses involves the induction of type I interferons and subsequently IL-10, yet the mechanism by which type I IFN induces IL-10 remains unclear. Our studies of gene expression profiles derived from leprosy skin lesions suggested a link between IL-27 and the IFN-β induced IL-10 pathway. Here, we demonstrate that the IL-27p28 subunit is upregulated following treatment of monocytes with IFN-β and Mycobacterium leprae, the intracellular bacterium that causes leprosy. The ability of IFN-β and M. leprae to induce IL-10 was diminished by IL-27 knockdown. Additionally, treatment of monocytes with recombinant IL-27 was sufficient to induce the production of IL-10. Functionally, IL-27 inhibited the ability of IFN-γ to trigger antimicrobial activity against M. leprae in infected monocytes. At the site of disease, IL-27 was more strongly expressed in skin lesions of patients with progressive lepromatous leprosy, correlating and colocalizing with IFN-β and IL-10 in macrophages. Together, these data provide evidence that in the human cutaneous immune responses to microbial infection, IL-27 contributes to the suppression of host antimicrobial responses.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 01 June 2015. doi:10.1038/jid.2015.195.