Interleukin-38 suppresses abdominal aortic aneurysm formation in mice by regulating macrophages in an IL1RL2-p38 pathway-dependent manner

Shun Kurose, Yutaka Matsubara, Shinichiro Yoshino, Keiji Yoshiya, Koichi Morisaki, Tadashi Furuyama, Tomoaki Hoshino, Tomoharu Yoshizumi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Macrophages play crucial roles in abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation through the inflammatory response and extracellular matrix degradation; therefore, regulating macrophages may suppress AAA formation. Interleukin-38 (IL-38) is a member of the IL-1 family, which binds to IL-36 receptor (IL1RL2) and has an anti-inflammation effect. Because macrophages express IL1RL2, we hypothesized that IL-38 suppresses AAA formation by controlling macrophages. We assessed a C57BL6/J mouse angiotensin II-induced AAA model with or without IL-38 treatment. RAW 264.7 cells were cultured with tumor necrosis factor-α and treated with or without IL-38. Because p38 has important roles in inflammation, we assessed p38 phosphorylation in vitro and in vivo. To clarify whether the IL-38 effect depends on the p38 pathway, we used SB203580 to inhibit p38 phosphorylation. IL1RL2+ macrophage accumulation along with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 expression was observed in mouse AAA. IL-38 reduced the incidence of AAA formation along with reduced M1 macrophage accumulation and MMP-2 and -9 expression in the AAA wall. Macrophage activities including inducible nitric oxide, MMP-2, and MMP-9 production and spindle-shaped changes were significantly suppressed by IL-38. Furthermore, we revealed that inhibition of p38 phosphorylation diminished the effects of IL-38 on regulating macrophages to reduce AAA incidence, indicating the protective effects of IL-38 depend on the p38 pathway. IL-38 plays protective roles against AAA formation through regulation of macrophage accumulation in the aortic wall and modulating the inflammatory phenotype. Using IL-38 may be a novel therapy for AAA patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15581
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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