Interleukin (IL)-18 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a critical role in inflammation leading to liver damage, through promotion of Fas-mediated apoptosis. Inhibition of IL-18 activity protects against LPS-induced lethality in mice and against liver damage induced by LPS after sensitisation of mice with Proprionibacterium acnes. A specific, potent, endogenous inhibitor of IL-18 (IL-18BP) has been identified in mice and humans, and IL-18BP mRNA is expressed constitutively in liver. The objectives of this study were to compare changes in IL-1β and IL-18 mRNA expression in the liver of rats in response to peripheral injection of LPS, using real-time PCR, and also to investigate whether IL-18BP mRNA expression is affected by this treatment. LPS rapidly up-regulated IL-1β mRNA expression, but IL-18 mRNA expression was unaffected by LPS treatment. Unlike IL-18, IL-18BP mRNA was up-regulated dramatically by approximately 12-fold above naïve levels, peaking 3 h after LPS injection. This ability of LPS to up-regulate expression of the endogenous IL-18 inhibitor may indicate a mechanism by which the inflammatory response to LPS is regulated. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Real-time PCR