IFN-γ and IL-17A regulate intestinal crypt production of CXCL10 in the healthy and inflamed colon

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2020 Mar 1;318(3):G479-G489. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00208.2019. Epub 2019 Dec 2.


During intestinal inflammation, immature cells within the intestinal crypt are called upon to replenish lost epithelial cell populations, promote tissue regeneration, and restore barrier integrity. Inflammatory mediators including TH1/TH17-associated cytokines influence tissue health and regenerative processes, yet how these cytokines directly influence the colon crypt epithelium and whether the crypt remains responsive to these cytokines during active damage and repair, remain unclear. Here, using laser-capture microdissection and primary colon organoid culture, we show that the cytokine milieu regulates the ability of the colonic crypt epithelium to participate in proinflammatory signaling. IFN-γ induces the TH1-recruiting, proinflammatory chemokine CXCL10/IP10 in primary murine intestinal crypt epithelium. CXCL10 was also induced in colonic organoids derived from mice with active, experimentally induced colitis, suggesting that the crypt can actively secrete CXCL10 in select cytokine environments during colitis. Colon expression of cxcl10 further increased during infectious and noninfectious colitis in Il17a-/- mice, demonstrating that IL-17A exerts a negative effect on CXCL10 in vivo. Furthermore, IL-17A directly antagonized CXCL10 production in ex vivo organoid cultures derived from healthy murine colons. Interestingly, direct antagonism of CXCL10 was not observed in organoids derived from colitic mouse colons bearing active lesions. These data, highlighting the complex interplay between the cytokine milieu and crypt epithelia, demonstrate proinflammatory chemokines can be induced within the colonic crypt and suggest the crypt remains responsive to cytokine modulation during inflammation.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Upon damage, the intestinal epithelium regenerates to restore barrier function. Here we observe that the local colonic cytokine milieu controls the production of procolitic chemokines within the crypt base and colon crypts remain responsive to cytokines during inflammation. IFN-γ promotes, while IL-17 antagonizes, CXCL10 production in healthy colonic crypts, while responses to cytokines differ in inflamed colon epithelium. These data reveal novel insight into colon crypt responses and inflammation-relevant alterations in signaling.

Keywords: IFN-γ; IL-17A; colitis; colon crypt; intestinal epithelium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / metabolism*
  • Colitis / genetics
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Colitis / metabolism*
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / immunology
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-17 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-17 / genetics
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Chemokine CXCL10
  • Cxcl10 protein, mouse
  • Il17a protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-17
  • Rela protein, mouse
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • Stat1 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Interferon-gamma
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases