Background and Aims: A better understanding of the underlying mechanism of acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver injury (AILI) remains an important endeavor to develop therapeutic approaches. Eosinophils have been detected in liver biopsies of patients with APAP overdose. We recently demonstrated a profound protective role of eosinophils against AILI; however, the molecular mechanism had not been elucidated. Approach and Results: In agreement with our previous data from experiments using genetic deletion of eosinophils, we found that depletion of eosinophils in wild-type (WT) mice by an anti-IL-15 antibody resulted in exacerbated AILI. Moreover, adoptive transfer of eosinophils significantly reduced liver injury and mortality rate in WT mice. Mechanistic studies using eosinophil-specific IL-4/IL-13 knockout mice demonstrated that these cytokines, through inhibiting interferon-γ, mediated the hepatoprotective function of eosinophils. Reverse phase protein array analyses and in vitro experiments using various inhibitors demonstrated that IL-33 stimulation of eosinophils activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and in turn, cyclooxygenases (COX), which triggered NF-κB-mediated IL-4/IL-13 production. In vivo adoptive transfer experiments showed that in contrast to naive eosinophils, those pretreated with COX inhibitors failed to attenuate AILI. Conclusions: The current study revealed that eosinophil-derived IL-4/IL-13 accounted for the hepatoprotective effect of eosinophils during AILI. The data demonstrated that the p38 MAPK/COX/NF-κB signaling cascade played a critical role in inducing IL-4/IL-13 production by eosinophils in response to IL-33.
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