Upregulation of Interleukin 21 and Promotion of Interleukin 17 Production in Chronic or Recurrent Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease

Fuzhen Li, Peizeng Yang*, Xiaoli Liu, Chaokui Wang, Shengping Hou, Aize Kijlstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To analyze the expression and potential role of interleukin (IL) 21 in the pathogenesis of Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from patients with VKH disease and from healthy control subjects. Serum IL-21 level and IL-21 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Interleukin 17 and interferon gamma levels in the supernatants of PBMCs and CD4(+) T cells cultured with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies in the presence or absence of recombinant IL-21 were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: The results showed a significantly increased serum IL-21 level, as well as higher IL-21 mRNA expression by PBMCs, in patients having chronic or recurrent active VKH disease compared with patients having inactive VKH disease and with controls. In vitro experiments showed that recombinant IL-21 significantly increased IL-17 production by PBMCs and by CD4(+) T cells from patients and from controls. However, recombinant IL-21 did not affect interferon gamma expression by PBMCs or by CD4(+) T cells. Conclusion: Interleukin 21 may be involved in the pathogenesis of chronic or recurrent VKH disease, possibly by promoting IL-17 secretion. Clinical Relevance: Findings from the present study suggest that IL-21 may be a potential target in the development of therapy for VKH disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1454
JournalArchives of Ophthalmology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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