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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 15;286(15):13357-69. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.214965. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Interleukin-13 (IL-13)/IL-13 receptor alpha1 (IL-13Ralpha1) signaling regulates intestinal epithelial cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator channel-dependent Cl- secretion.

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  • 1Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


Interleukin-13 (IL-13) has been linked to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It is postulated that IL-13 drives inflammatory lesions through the modulation of both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cell function in the intestine. To delineate the relevant contribution of elevated levels of intestinal IL-13 to intestinal structure and function, we generated an intestinal IL-13 transgenic mouse (iIL-13Tg). We show that constitutive overexpression of IL-13 in the small bowel induces modification of intestinal epithelial architecture (villus blunting, goblet cell hyperplasia, and increased epithelial proliferation) and epithelial function (altered basolateral → apical Cl(-) ion conductance). Pharmacological analyses in vitro and in vivo determined that elevated Cl(-) conductance is mediated by altered cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator expression and activity. Generation of iIL-13Tg/Il13rα1(-/-), iIL-13Tg/Il13rα2(-/-), and iIL-13Tg/Stat6(-/-) mice revealed that IL-13-mediated dysregulation of epithelial architecture and Cl(-) conductance is dependent on IL-13Rα1 and STAT-6. These observations demonstrate a central role for the IL-13/IL-13Rα1 pathway in the regulation of intestinal epithelial cell Cl(-) secretion via up-regulation of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, suggesting an important role for this pathway in secretory diarrhea.

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