Interleukin-19 increases angiogenesis in ischemic hind limbs by direct effects on both endothelial cells and macrophage polarization

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2015 Feb;79:21-31. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Nov 8.


Hypoxia in ischemic limbs typically initiates angiogenic and inflammatory factors to promote angiogenesis in attempt to restore perfusion. There is a gap in our knowledge concerning the role of anti-inflammatory interleukins in angiogenesis, macrophage polarization, and endothelial cell activation. Interleukin-19 is a unique anti-inflammatory Th2 cytokine that promotes angiogenic effects in cultured endothelial cells (EC); the purpose of this study was to characterize a role for IL-19 in restoration of blood flow in hind-limb ischemia, and define potential mechanisms. Hind limb ischemia was induced by femoral artery ligation, and perfusion quantitated using Laser Doppler Perfusion Imaging (LDPI). Wild type mice which received i.p. injections of rIL-19 (10ng/g/day) showed significantly increased levels of perfusion compared to PBS controls. LDPI values were significantly decreased in IL-19(-/-) mice when compared to wild type mice. IL-19(-/-) mice injected with rIL-19 had significantly increased LDPI compared with PBS control mice. Significantly increased capillary density was quantitated in rIL-19 treated mice, and significantly less capillary density in IL-19(-/-) mice. Multiple cell types participate in IL-19 induced angiogenesis. IL-19 treatment of human microvascular EC induced expression of angiogenic cytokines. M2 macrophage marker and VEGF-A expression were significantly increased in macrophage and the spleen from rIL-19 injected mice, and M1 marker expression was significantly increased in the spleen from IL-19(-/-) compared with controls. Plasma VEGF-A levels are higher in rIL-19 injected mice. IL-19 decreased the expression of anti-angiogenic IL-12 in the spleen and macrophage. This study is the first to implicate IL-19 as a novel pro-angiogenic interleukin and suggests therapeutic potential for this cytokine.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Endothelial cell; Hind limb ischemia; Interleukin-19; Macrophage polarization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hindlimb / blood supply*
  • Hindlimb / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40 / metabolism
  • Interleukins
  • Ischemia / metabolism
  • Ischemia / pathology*
  • Macrophages / cytology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic* / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Il19 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40
  • Interleukins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Interleukin-10