Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a type I cytokine belonging to the IL-2 cytokine family, promotes Th2-mediated inflammatory responses. The aim of this study is to investigate whether TSLP increases inflammatory responses via induction of autophagy using a murine T cell lymphoma cell line, EL4 cells, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-injected mice. TSLP increased expression levels of autophagy-related factors, such as Beclin-1, LC3-II, p62, Atg5, and lysosome associated membrane protein 1/2, whereas these factors increased by TSLP disappeared by neutralization of TSLP in EL4 cells. TSLP activated JAK1/JAK2/STAT5/JNK/PI3K, while the blockade of JAK1/JAK2/STAT5/JNK/PI3K signaling pathways reduced the expression levels of Beclin-1, LC3-II, and p62 in TSLP-stimulated EL4 cells. In addition, TSLP simultaneously increased levels of inflammatory cytokines via induction of autophagy by activation of JAK1/JAK2/STAT5/JNK/PI3K signaling pathways. In an LPS-induced acute liver injury (ALI) mouse model, exogenous TSLP increased expression levels of Beclin-1 and LC3-II, whereas functional deficiency of TSLP by TSLP siRNA resulted in lower expression of Beclin-1, LC3-II, and inflammatory cytokines, impairing their ability to form autophagosomes in ALI mice. Thus, our findings show a new role of TSLP between autophagy and inflammatory responses. In conclusion, regulating TSLP-induced autophagy may be a potential therapeutic strategy for inflammatory responses.
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