Analysis of interleukin-20 receptor complexes in trabecular meshwork cells and effects of cytokine signaling in anterior segment perfusion culture

Kate E. Keller, Yong Feng Yang, Ying Ying Sun, Mark R. Walter, Mary K. Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Inflammatory responses may be involved in the glaucomatous process. Our previous studies mapped a T104M mutation in interleukin-20 receptor beta (IL-20RB) in a family with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). IL-20RB can heterodimerize with IL-20RA to propagate signals from IL-20 family cytokines, IL-19, IL-20, and IL-24 (the type I receptor complex), or it can heterodimerize with IL-22RA to propagate signals from IL-20 and IL-24 (type II receptor complex). In this study, we investigated IL-20 heterodimeric receptor complexes in the trabecular meshwork (TM) compared to dermal fibroblast cell cultures, and examined the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-1,-3, and-5 following exposure to IL-20 family cytokines. Additionally, we determined the effects of IL-20 family cytokines on outflow rates in anterior segment perfusion culture, an in vitro model of intraocular pressure (IOP) regulation. Methods: Primary human TM (HTM) cells were grown from dissected TM tissue, and IL-20 receptor expression was investigated with PCR. A Duolink assay was performed to investigate in situ IL-20 receptor protein interactions in HTM or dermal fibroblasts, and Imaris software was used to quantitate the association of the heterodimeric complexes. Phosphorylation of STAT-1,-3, and-5 were evaluated in HTM or dermal fibroblasts using Western immunoblotting after exposure to IL-10, IL-19, IL-20, IL-22, or IL-24. Anterior segment perfusion culture was performed in human cadaver and porcine eyes treated with IL-20, IL-19, or IL-24. Results: All of the IL-20 receptors, IL-20RA, IL-20RB, and IL-22RA1 were expressed in HTM cells. Two isoforms of IL-20RA were expressed: The V1 variant, which is the longest, is the predominant isoform, while the V3 isoform, which lacks exon 3, was also expressed. The Duolink assay demonstrated that the type I (IL-20RA–IL-20RB) and type II (IL-22RA1–IL-20RB) receptors were expressed in HTM cells and dermal fibroblasts. However, in the HTM cells, the type I receptor was present at significantly higher levels, while the type II receptor was preferentially used in the dermal fibroblasts. The HTM cells and the dermal fibroblasts predominantly phosphorylate the Ser727 site in STAT-3. The dermal fibroblasts had higher induction of phosphorylated STAT-1 compared to the HTM cells, while neither cell type had phosphorylated STAT-5 in the cell lysates. The outflow rates in the human anterior segment cultures were increased 2.3-fold by IL-20. However, IL-19 and IL-24 showed differential responses. For IL-19 and IL-24, 50% of the eyes responded with a 1.7-or 1.5-fold increase, respectively, while the other half did not respond. Similarly, perfused porcine anterior segments showed “responders” and “non-responders”: IL-20 responders (2.3-fold increase in outflow, n=12) and non-responders (n=11); IL-19 responders (2.1-fold increase, n=7) and non-responders (n=5); and IL-24 responders (1.8-fold increase, n=12) and non-responders (n=5). Conclusions: Type I and type II IL-20 receptor complexes are expressed in human TM cells with predominant expression of the type I receptor (IL-20RA and IL-20RB), which propagates signals from all three IL-20 family cytokines. However, there was a variable response in the outflow rates following perfusion of cytokines in two different species. This may explain why some people are more susceptible to developing elevated IOP in response to inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-282
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular vision
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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