Attenuation of Experimental Atherosclerosis by Interleukin-19
Objective—Interleukin-19 (IL-19) is a putative Th2, anti-inflammatory interleukin. Its expression and potential role in atherogenesis are unknown. IL-19 is not detected in normal artery and is expressed to a greater degree in plaque from symptomatic versus asymptomatic patients, suggesting a compensatory counter-regulatory function. We tested whether IL-19 could reduce atherosclerosis in susceptible mice and identified plausible mechanisms.
Approach and Results—LDLR−/− mice fed an atherogenic diet and injected with either 1.0 or 10.0 ng/g per day recombinant mouse IL-19 had significantly less plaque area in the aortic arch compared with controls (P<0.0001). Weight gain, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were not significantly different. Gene expression in splenocytes from IL-19–treated mice demonstrated immune cell Th2 polarization, with decreased expression of T-bet, interferon-γ, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-12β and increased expression of GATA3 and FoxP3 mRNA. A greater percentage of lymphocytes were Th2 polarized in IL-19–treated mice. Cellular characterization of plaque by immunohistochemistry demonstrated that IL-19–treated mice have significantly less macrophage infiltrate compared with controls (P<0.001). Intravital microscopy revealed significantly less leukocyte adhesion in wild-type mice injected with IL-19 and fed an atherogenic diet compared with controls. Treatment of cultured endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, and bone marrow–derived macrophages with IL-19 resulted in a significant decrease in chemokine mRNA and mRNA stability protein human antigen R.
Conclusions—These data suggest that IL-19 is a potent inhibitor of experimental atherosclerosis, with diverse mechanisms including immune cell polarization, decrease in macrophage adhesion, and decrease in gene expression. This may identify IL-19 as a novel therapeutic to limit vascular inflammation.
- Received February 21, 2013.
- Accepted August 2, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.