IL-20 receptor 2 signaling down-regulates antigen-specific T cell responses

J Immunol. 2009 Jan 15;182(2):802-10. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.182.2.802.


The recently described cytokines IL-19, IL-20, and IL-24 share structural homology with IL-10 and are therefore classified as members of the IL-10 family of cytokines. Although it has long been speculated that signaling by their heterodimeric receptor complexes (IL-20R1/IL-20R2 and IL-22R/IL-20R2) influences immunological processes, the target cells for this group of cytokines are still unclear. By generating a knockout mouse strain deficient for the common IL-20R beta-chain (IL-20R2), we show that IFN-gamma and IL-2 secretion is significantly elevated after stimulation of IL-20R2-/--deficient CD8 and CD4 T cells with Con A or anti-CD3/CD28 in vitro. IL-10 secretion by activated IL-20R2-/- CD4 cells was diminished. Consistent with our in vitro results, significantly more Ag-specific CD8 IFN-gamma+ and CD4 IFN-gamma+ T cells developed to locally applied DNA vaccines in IL-20R2-deficient mice. In a T cell-dependent model of contact hypersensitivity, IL-20R2 knockout mice were more sensitive to the contact allergen trinitro-chloro-benzene. Thus, IL-20R2 signaling directly regulates CD8 and CD4 T cell answers in vitro and in vivo. For the first time, we provide evidence that IL-19, IL-20, and IL-24 are part of a signaling network that normally down-modulates T cell responses in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Dermatitis, Contact / genetics
  • Dermatitis, Contact / immunology
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / immunology*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Female
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Picryl Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Picryl Chloride / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin / deficiency
  • Receptors, Interleukin / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • interleukin-20 receptor
  • Picryl Chloride