IL-32, a newly described multifunctional cytokine, has been associated with a variety of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, and Crohn's disease. In this study, we investigated the immunomodulatory effects of IL-32γ on bone marrow-derived dendritic cell (DC)-driven Th responses and analyzed the underlying signaling events. IL-32γ-treated DCs exhibited upregulated expression of cell-surface molecules and proinflammatory cytokines associated with DC maturation and activation. In particular, IL-32γ treatment significantly increased production of IL-12 and IL-6 in DCs, which are known as Th1- and Th17-polarizing cytokines, respectively. This increased production was inhibited by the addition of specific inhibitors of the activities of phospholipase C (PLC), JNK, and NF-κB. IL-32γ treatment increased the phosphorylation of JNK and the degradation of both IκBα and IκBβ in DCs, as well as NF-κB binding activity to the κB site. The PLC inhibitor suppressed NFκB DNA binding activity and JNK phosphorylation increased by IL-32γ treatment, thereby indicating that IL-32γ induced IL-12 and IL-6 production in DCs via a PLC/JNK/NF-κB signaling pathway. Importantly, IL-32γ- stimulated DCs significantly induced both Th1 and Th17 responses when cocultured with CD4+ T cells. The addition of a neutralizing anti-IL-12 mAb abolished the secretion of IFN-γ in a dose-dependent manner; additionally, the blockage of IL-1β and IL-6, but not of IL-21 or IL-23p19, profoundly inhibited IL-32γ-induced IL-17 production. These results demonstrated that IL-32γ could effectively induce the maturation and activation of immature DCs, leading to enhanced Th1 and Th17 responses as the result of increased IL-12 and IL-6 production in DCs.
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