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Loss of protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 2 reduces IL-4-driven alternative macrophage activation.


Macrophages are a heterogeneous population of innate immune cells that are often divided into two major subsets: classically activated, typically pro-inflammatory (M1) macrophages that mediate host defense, and alternatively activated, tolerance-inducing (M2) macrophages that exert homeostatic and tissue-regenerative functions. Disturbed macrophage function/differentiation results either in inadequate, excessive immune activation or in a failure to induce efficient protective immune responses against pathogens. Loss-of-function variants in protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 2 (PTPN2) are associated with chronic inflammatory disorders, but the effect of macrophage-intrinsic PTPN2 loss is still poorly understood. Here we report that PTPN2-deficient macrophages fail to acquire an alternatively activated/M2 phenotype. This was the consequence of reduced IL-6 receptor expression and a failure to induce IL-4 receptor in response to IL-6, resulting in an inability to respond to the key M2-inducing cytokine IL-4. Ultimately, failure to adequately respond to IL-6 and IL-4 resulted in increased levels of M1 macrophage marker expression in vitro and exacerbated lung inflammation upon infection with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis in vivo. These results demonstrate that PTPN2 loss interferes with the ability of macrophages to adequately respond to inflammatory stimuli and might explain the increased susceptibility of PTPN2 loss-of-function carriers to developing inflammatory diseases.

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