Effects of interleukin-15 on neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells.
ABSTRACT Interleukin-15 (IL-15) signaling has pleiotropic actions in many cell types during development and has been best studied in cells of immune system lineage, where IL-15 stimulates proliferation of cytotoxic T cells and induces maturation of natural killer cells. A few reports have indicated that IL-15 and the IL-15 receptor are expressed in central nervous system tissues and neuronal cell lines. Because this aspect of IL-15 action is poorly studied, we used cultured rat neural stem cells (NSCs) to study IL-15 signal transduction and activity. Primary cultures of rat NSCs in culture will form neurospheres and will differentiate into neuron, astrocyte, and oligodendrocyte progenitors under permissive conditions. We found by immunofluorescence that the IL-15Ralpha subunit of the IL-15 receptor was expressed in NSCs and differentiating neurons, but not astrocyte or oligodendrocyte progenitors. We also showed that IL-15 treatment reduced MAP-2 protein levels in neurons and could reduce neurite outgrowth in differentiating neurons but did not affect NSC proliferation, and cell proportions and viability of the corresponding lineage cells. In the presence of a STAT3 inhibitor, Stattic, IL-15 no longer reduced MAP-2 protein levels. IL-15 treatment caused STAT3 phosphorylation. Furthermore, using anti-IL-15Ralpha antibody to block IL-15 signaling completely inhibited IL-15-induced phosphorylation of STAT3 and prevented IL-15 from decreasing neurite outgrowth. In conclusion, IL-15 may influence neural cell differentiation through a signal transduction pathway involving IL-15Ralpha and STAT3. This signal transduction modifies MAP-2 protein levels and, consequently, the differentiation of neurons from NSCs, as evidenced by reduced neurite outgrowth.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Converging lines of evidence point to the existence of immune dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which could directly affect several key neurodevelopmental processes. Previous studies have shown higher cytokine levels in patients with autism compared with matched controls or subjects with other developmental disorders. In the current study, we used plasma-cytokine profiling for 25 discordant sibling pairs to evaluate whether these alterations occur within families with ASD. METHODS: Plasma-cytokine profiling was conducted using an array-based multiplex sandwich ELISA for simultaneous quantitative measurement of 40 unique targets. We also analyzed the correlations between cytokine levels and clinically relevant quantitative traits (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale in Autism (VABS) composite score, Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) total T score, head circumference, and full intelligence quotient (IQ)). In addition, because of the high phenotypic heterogeneity of ASD, we defined four subgroups of subjects (those who were non-verbal, those with gastrointestinal issues, those with regressive autism, and those with a history of allergies), which encompass common and/or recurrent endophenotypes in ASD, and tested the cytokine levels in each group. RESULTS: None of the measured parameters showed significant differences between children with ASD and their related typically developing siblings. However, specific target levels did correlate with quantitative clinical traits, and these were significantly different when the ASD subgroups were analyzed. It is notable that these differences seem to be attributable to a predisposing immunogenetic background, as no other significant differences were noticed between discordant sibling pairs. Interleukin-1beta appears to be the cytokine most involved in quantitative traits and clinical subgroups of ASD. CONCLUSIONS: In the present study, we found a lack of significant differences in plasma-cytokine levels between children with ASD and in their related non-autistic siblings. Thus, our results support the evidence that the immune profiles of children with autism do not differ from their typically developing siblings. However, the significant association of cytokine levels with the quantitative traits and the clinical subgroups analyzed suggests that altered immune responses may affect core feature of ASD.Journal of Neuroinflammation 03/2013; 10(1):38. · 3.83 Impact Factor