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Downregulation of T-bet/GATA-3 ratio induced by IL-11 treatment is responsible for Th1/Th2 balance restoration in human immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)


Abnormal cellular immunity induced by deranged Th1/Th2 profile has been revealed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Correction of the shifted Th1/Th2 balance represents a potential therapeutic approach to treat ITP. Here, we investigated the effects of IL-11 on the restoration of Th1/Th2 balance in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from adult ITP patients. As shown here, we observed a higher ratio of T-bet/GATA-3 gene expression by quantitative real-time PCR in the PBMCs from ITP patients, consistent with the presence of an abnormally high Th1/Th2 ratio. Remarkably, upon IL-11 treatment, a reversal of T-bet/GATA-3 ratio in ITP was achieved and was shown to be responsible for the restoration of Th1/Th2 balance, with IL-11 at 100 ng/ml demonstrating the highest efficiency. T-bet and GATA-3 are the two transcriptional factors that have been indicated to be the master regulators for Th1 and Th2 lineage commitment, respectively. In the presence of 100 ng/ml IL-11, GATA-3 transcript abundance rose up to ~85-fold of that measured in untreated cells, whereas T-bet transcripts were lowered merely to ~41 %, suggesting that GATA-3 was the major contributor for the reversal of T-bet/GATA-3 ratio. Thus, our findings may very well encourage the development of novel medicines that specifically target and correct the T-bet/GATA-3 imbalance identified in ITP.

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This work was supported by the International High-Tech Collaboration Programs (Grant No. H20100059) sponsored by the Department of Technology Development, Wenzhou, China. Here, we would also like to thank Ms Wei Zhu for her excellent work in editing and proof reading.

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Correspondence to Rongxin Yao.

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Yao, R., Lin, Y., Li, Q. et al. Downregulation of T-bet/GATA-3 ratio induced by IL-11 treatment is responsible for Th1/Th2 balance restoration in human immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). J Thromb Thrombolysis 38, 183–189 (2014).

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  • ITP
  • IL-11
  • T-bet
  • GATA-3
  • Th1
  • Th2