The selectin family of cell adhesion molecules is widely thought to promote inflammatory reactions by facilitating leukocyte recruitment. However, it was unexpectedly found that mice with targeted deletion of the P-selectin gene (PsKO mice) developed unpolarized type 1/type 2 cytokine responses and severely aggravated liver pathology following infection with the type 2-promoting pathogen Schistosoma mansoni. In fact, liver fibrosis, which is dependent on interleukin 13 (IL-13), increased by a factor of more than 6, despite simultaneous induction of the antifibrotic cytokine interferon gamma (IFN-γ). Inflammation, as measured by granuloma size, also increased significantly in the absence of P-selectin. When infected PsKO mice were treated with neutralizing anti-IFN-γ monoclonal antibodies, however, granuloma size was restored to wild-type levels; this finding revealed the potent proinflammatory role of IFN-γ when expressed concomitantly with IL-13. Untreated PsKO mice also exhibited a significant (sixfold) reduction in decoy IL-13 receptor (IL-13 receptor alpha-2) expression when compared with infected wild-type animals. It is noteworthy, however, that when decoy receptor activity was restored in PsKO mice by treatment with soluble IL-13 receptor alpha-2-Fc, the exacerbated fibrotic response was completely inhibited. Thus, reduced expression of the decoy IL-13 receptor mediated by the elevated type 1 cytokine response probably accounts for the enhanced activity of IL-13 in PsKO mice and for the resultant increase in collagen deposition. In conclusion, the current study has revealed the critical role of P-selectin in the progression of chronic liver disease caused by schistosome parasites. By suppressing IFN-γ and up-regulating the decoy IL-13 receptor, P-selectin dramatically inhibits the pathologic tissue remodeling that results from chronic type 2 cytokine-mediated inflammation.
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