Spred2 controls the severity of Concanavalin A-induced liver damage by limiting interferon-gamma production by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells

Cuiming Sun, Masayoshi Fujisawa, Toshiaki Ohara, Qiuying Liu, Chen Cao, Xu Yang, Teizo Yoshimura, Steven L. Kunkel, Akihiro Matsukawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are involved in T cell-mediated liver damage. However, the inhibitory mechanism(s) that controls T cell-mediated liver damage remains unknown. Objectives: We investigated whether Spred2 (Sprouty-related, EVH1 domain-containing protein 2) that negatively regulates ERK-MAPK pathway has a biological impact on T cell-mediated liver damage by using a murine model. Methods: We induced hepatotoxicity in genetically engineered mice by intravenously injecting Concanavalin A (Con A) and analyzed the mechanisms using serum chemistry, histology, ELISA, qRT-PCR, Western blotting and flow cytometry. Results: Spred2-deficient mice (Spred2-/-) developed more sever liver damage than wild-type (WT) mice with increased interferon-γ (IFNγ) production. Hepatic ERK phosphorylation was enhanced in Spred2-/- mice, and pretreatment of Spred2-/- mice with the MAPK/ERK inhibitor U0126 markedly inhibited the liver damage and reduced IFNγ production. Neutralization of IFNγ abolished the damage with decreased hepatic Stat1 activation in Spred2-/- mice. IFNγ was mainly produced from CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and their depletion decreased liver damage and IFNγ production. Transplantation of CD4+ and/or CD8+ T cells from Spred2-/- mice into RAG1-/- mice deficient in both T and B cells caused more severe liver damage than those from WT mice. Hepatic expression of T cell attractants, CXCL9 and CXCL10, was augmented in Spred2-/- mice as compared to WT mice. Conversely, liver damage, IFNγ production and the recruitment of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in livers after Con A challenge were lower in Spred2 transgenic mice, and Spred2-overexpressing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells produced lower levels of IFNγ than WT cells upon stimulation with Con A in vitro. Conclusion: We demonstrated, for the first time, that Spred2 functions as an endogenous regulator of T cell IFNγ production and Spred2-mediated inhibition of ERK-MAPK pathway may be an effective remedy for T cell-dependent liver damage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Gene-modified mice
  • Liver damage
  • MAPK
  • Signal transduction and regulation
  • Spred2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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