IL-37 exerts therapeutic effects in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis through the receptor complex IL-1R5/IL-1R8
Alba Sánchez-Fernández, Stephanie Zandee, Jesús Amo-Aparicio, Marc Charabati, Alexandre Prat, Cecilia Garlanda, Elan Z Eisenmesser, Charles A Dinarello, Rubèn López-Vales
Background: Interleukin 37 (IL-37), a member of IL-1 family, broadly suppresses inflammation in many pathological conditions by acting as a dual-function cytokine in that IL-37 signals via the extracellular receptor complex IL1-R5/IL-1R8, but it can also translocate to the nucleus. However, whether IL-37 exerts beneficial actions in neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, remains to be elucidated. Thus, the goals of the present study were to evaluate the therapeutic effects of IL-37 in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, and if so, whether this is mediated via the extracellular receptor complex IL-1R5/IL-1R8. Methods: We used a murine model of MS, the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We induced EAE in three different single and double transgenic mice (hIL-37tg, IL-1R8 KO, hIL-37tg-IL-1R8 KO) and wild type littermates. We also induced EAE in C57Bl/6 mice and treated them with various forms of recombinant human IL-37 protein. Functional and histological techniques were used to assess locomotor deficits and demyelination. Luminex and flow cytometry analysis were done to assess the protein levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and different immune cell populations, respectively. qPCRs were done to assess the expression of IL-37, IL-1R5 and IL-1R8 in the spinal cord of EAE, and in blood peripheral mononuclear cells and brain tissue samples of MS patients. Results: We demonstrate that IL-37 reduces inflammation and protects against neurological deficits and myelin loss in EAE mice by acting via IL1-R5/IL1-R8. We also reveal that administration of recombinant human IL-37 exerts therapeutic actions in EAE mice. We finally show that IL-37 transcripts are not up-regulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in brain lesions of MS patients, despite the IL-1R5/IL-1R8 receptor complex is expressed. Conclusions: This study presents novel data indicating that IL-37 exerts therapeutic effects in EAE by acting through the extracellular receptor complex IL-1R5/IL-1R8, and that this protective physiological mechanism is defective in MS individuals. IL-37 may therefore represent a novel therapeutic avenue for the treatment of MS with great promising potential.