Glycogen synthase kinase-3 controls IL-10 expression in CD4effector T-cell subsets through epigenetic modification of the IL-10 promoter

Elaine V. Hill*, T H Ng, Bronwen R. Burton, Charly M. Oakley, Karim Malik, David C. Wraith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
266 Downloads (Pure)


The serine/threonine kinase glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) plays an important role in balancing pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. We have examined the role of GSK3 in production of IL-10 by subsets of CD4+ T helper cells. Treatment of naive murine CD4+ T cells with GSK3 inhibitors did not affect their production of IL-10. However, treatment of Th1 and Th2 cells with GSK3 inhibitors dramatically increased production of IL-10. GSK3 inhibition also led to upregulation of IL-10 among Th1, Th2, and Th17 subsets isolated from human blood. The encephalitogenic potential of GSK3 inhibitor treated murine Th1 cells was significantly reduced in adoptive transfer experiments by an IL-10-dependent mechanism. Analysis of the murine IL-10 promoter in response to inhibition of GSK3 in Th1 cells showed modification to a transcriptionally active state indicated by changes in histone H3 acetylation and methylation. Additionally, GSK3 inhibition increased expression of the transcription factors c-Maf, Nfil3, and GATA3, correlating with the increase in IL-10. These findings are important in the context of autoimmune disease since they show that it is possible to reprogram disease-causing cells through GSK3 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1115
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number4
Early online date17 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • CD4 T cells
  • Epigenetic
  • Glycogen synthase kinase-3
  • IL-10

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