Cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 play important roles in polarization of macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2 phenotype, which is important for recovery from acute kidney injury. Both IL-4 and IL-13 activate JAK3/STAT6 signaling. In mice with diphtheria toxin receptor expression in proximal tubules (selective injury model), a relatively selective JAK3 inhibitor, tofacitinib, led to more severe kidney injury, delayed recovery from acute kidney injury, increased inflammatory M1 phenotype markers and decreased reparative M2 phenotype markers of macrophages/dendritic cells, and development of more severe renal fibrosis after diphtheria toxin administration. Similarly, there was delayed recovery and increased tubulointerstitial fibrosis in these diphtheria toxin-treated mice following tamoxifen-induced deletion of both IL-4 and IL-13, with increased levels of M1 and decreased levels of M2 markers in the macrophages/dendritic cells. Furthermore, deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 led to a decrease of tissue reparative M2a phenotype markers but had no effect on anti-inflammatory M2c phenotype markers. Deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 also inhibited recovery from ischemia-reperfusion injury in association with increased M1 and decreased M2 markers and promoted subsequent tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Thus, IL-4 and IL-13 are required to effectively polarize macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2a phenotype and to promote recovery from acute kidney injury.
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