Increased expression of IL-18 in cutaneous graft-versus-host disease

Hyun Jeong Park, Ji Eun Kim, Jun Yong Lee, Baik Kee Cho, Wang Jae Lee, Taesng Kim, Doyoung Yoon, Daeho Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is an 18-kDa cytokine produced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated macrophages or Kupffer cells. In addition, IL-18 is also produced by many different types of cells and tissues, including epidermal keratinocytes, the adrenal cortex, and the brain. IL-18 acts on the immune system to increase IFN-γ production from T and NK cells to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity and to activate Th1 cell proliferation. It is considered that the tissue expression of cytokines and cell adhesion molecules such as ICAM-1 are common in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Recent evidence suggests that IL-18 is a cytokine relevant in the pathogenesis of GVHD. Despite the potential importance of IL-18 in GVHD, the distribution of IL-18 production in cutaneous GVHD has not been fully investigated. In this study, the expression of IL-18 in the cutaneous GVHD was investigated. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections were obtained, and immunohistochemical analysis was performed to detect IL-18 and ICAM-1 expression according to the acute and chronic GVHD. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the enhanced IL-18 expression levels in the early stage (grade 1) of acute GVHD and the late stage (sclerodermoid) of chronic GVHD compared to the other stages. In contrast, the ICAM-1 expression level was constant at all stages. Our findings indicate that IL-18 is a significant pathogenic indicator in cutaneous GVHD, and the tissue expression of IL-18 seems to be associated with the pathogenesis of acute and chronic GVHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Aug 15
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Hee Jung Kim for technical assistance. This study was supported by a grant of the Korea Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (02-PJ1-PG10-21202-0004).


  • Acute GVHD
  • Chronic GVHD
  • IL-18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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