CD11c(+) monocyte/macrophages promote chronic Helicobacter hepaticus-induced intestinal inflammation through the production of IL-23.
Arnold IC., Mathisen S., Schulthess J., Danne C., Hegazy AN., Powrie F.
In inflammatory bowel diseases, a breakdown in host microbial interactions accompanies sustained activation of immune cells in the gut. Functional studies suggest a key role for interleukin-23 (IL-23) in orchestrating intestinal inflammation. IL-23 can be produced by various mononuclear phagocytes (MNPs) following acute microbial stimulation, but little is known about the key cellular sources of IL-23 that drive chronic intestinal inflammation. Here we have addressed this question using a physiological model of bacteria-driven colitis. By combining conditional gene ablation and gene expression profiling, we found that IL-23 production by CD11c(+) MNPs was essential to trigger intestinal immunopathology and identified MHCII(+) monocytes and macrophages as the major source of IL-23. Expression of IL-23 by monocytes was acquired during their differentiation in the intestine and correlated with the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) and CD64. In contrast, Batf3-dependent CD103(+) CD11b(-) dendritic cells were dispensable for bacteria-induced colitis in this model. These studies reinforce the pathogenic role of monocytes in dysregulated responses to intestinal bacteria and identify production of IL-23 as a key component of this response. Further understanding of the functional sources of IL-23 in diverse forms of intestinal inflammation may lead to novel therapeutic strategies aimed at interrupting IL-23-driven immune pathology.