World journal of gastroenterology

Expression of interleukin-22/STAT3 signaling pathway in ulcerative colitis and related carcinogenesis.

PMID 23674871


To investigate the expression of interleukin (IL)-22 and its related proteins in biopsy specimens from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and UC-related carcinogenesis. Biopsy specimens were obtained from patients with inactive (n = 10), mild-to-moderately active (n = 30), severely active (n = 34), initial (n = 30), and chronic UC (n = 44), as well as UC patients with dysplasia (n = 10). Specimens from patients without colonic abnormalities (n = 20) served as controls. Chronic colitis in experimental mice was induced by 2.5% dextran sodium sulfate. The expression levels of IL-22, IL-23, IL-22R1 and phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) were determined by immunohistochemistry. Bcl-2, cyclin D1 and survivin expression was detected by Western blotting. Patients with active UC had significantly more IL-22, IL-23, IL-22R1 and p-STAT3-positive cells than the patients with inactive UC and normal controls. Furthermore, IL-22 and related proteins were closely related to the severity of the colitis. The expression of IL-22 and IL-22R1 in the tissue of initial UC was stronger than in that of chronic UC, whereas the expression of p-STAT3 was significantly increased in chronic UC tissues. In dysplasia tissues, the expression level of IL-22 and related proteins was higher compared with controls. Mouse colitis model showed that expression of IL-22, IL-22R1 and IL-23 was increased with time, p-STAT3 and the downstream gene were also remarkably upregulated. IL-22/STAT3 signaling pathway may be related to UC and UC-induced carcinogenesis and IL-22 can be used as a biomarker in judging the severity of UC.