The alarmin IL-33 has been described to be upregulated in human and murine viral hepatitis. However, the role of endogenous IL-33 in viral hepatitis remains obscure. We aimed to decipher its function by infecting IL-33-deficient mice (IL-33 KO) and their wild-type (WT) littermates with pathogenic mouse hepatitis virus (L2-MHV3). The IL-33 KO mice were more sensitive to L2-MHV3 infection exhibiting higher levels of AST/ALT, higher tissue damage, significant weight loss, and earlier death. An increased depletion of B and T lymphocytes, NKT cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages was observed 48 h postinfection (PI) in IL-33 KO mice than that in WT mice. In contrast, a massive influx of neutrophils was observed in IL-33 KO mice at 48 h PI. A transcriptomic study of inflammatory and cell-signaling genes revealed the overexpression of IL-6, TNFα, and several chemokines involved in recruitment/activation of neutrophils (CXCL2, CXCL5, CCL2, and CCL6) at 72 h PI in IL-33 KO mice. However, the IFNγ was strongly induced in WT mice with less profound expression in IL-33 KO mice demonstrating that endogenous IL-33 regulated IFNγ expression during L2-MHV3 hepatitis. In conclusion, we demonstrated that endogenous IL-33 had multifaceted immunoregulatory effect during viral hepatitis via induction of IFNγ, survival effect on immune cells, and infiltration of neutrophils in the liver.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology