Interleukin-27 Regulates the Function of the Gastrointestinal Epithelial Barrier in a Human Tissue-Derived Organoid Model

Daniel P Brice, Graeme I. Murray, Heather M. Wilson, Ross J. Porter, Susan Berry, Scott K. Durum, Mairi H. McLean* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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A treatment with direct healing effects on the gastrointestinal epithelial barrier is desirable for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Interleukin-27 (IL-27) is an immunoregulatory cytokine, and oral delivery is an effective treatment in murine models of IBD. We aimed to define IL-27 effects on the human gastrointestinal epithelial barrier. We characterised gene and protein expression of permeability mediators in a human colon-derived organoid model. Functional permeability was determined in an organoid-derived 2D monolayer by transepithelial electrical resistance. IL-27 effects on epithelial innate immune responses were assessed through expression of cytokines, anti-microbial peptides and MUC genes. IL-27 effects on wound healing and proliferation were determined in human colon epithelial cell lines. IL-27 led to restoration of permeability regulation following inflammatory cytokine insult (p = 0.001), associated with differential expression of tight junction mediators with decrease in claudin 2 (p = 0.024) and increase in claudin 4 (p < 0.001), E-cadherin (p < 0.001) and zona occludens (p = 0.0014). IL-27 evoked differential gene expression of epithelial-derived innate immune responses (reduced IL1B and IL18, and increased IL33, HBD1, MUC1 and MUC2; p < 0.012). IL-27 induced epithelial barrier wound healing through restitution (p < 0.001), and increased proliferation (p < 0.001) following injury. Overall, IL-27 provokes mucosal healing of the human gastrointestinal epithelial barrier.
Original languageEnglish
Article number427
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was funded by CICRA (CICRA: better lives for children with crohns and colitis. Available online: (last accessed on 23 January 2022); Ph.D. studentship to DBP) and an NHS Grampian Endowment project grant.
Acknowledgments: We wish to acknowledge the Grampian Tissue Biorepository for assistance in tissue preparation. Organoids were stored at −80 ◦C at the University of Aberdeen. Graphical abstract was created using Biorender with a licence for use in publication (agreement number AD22YOD1N6). DBP now at Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation and Wellcome Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester, UK


  • IBD
  • colitis
  • cytokine
  • interleukin-27
  • epithelium
  • organoid
  • gastrointestinal
  • permeability


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