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Immunity. 2002 Nov;17(5):629-38.

Oxazolone colitis, a Th2 colitis model resembling ulcerative colitis, is mediated by IL-13-producing NK-T cells.

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  • 1Mucosal Immunity Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Oxazolone colitis (OC) is an experimental colitis that has a histologic resemblance to human ulcerative colitis. Here we show that IL-13 production is a significant pathologic factor in OC since its neutralization by IL-13Ralpha2-Fc administration prevents colitis. We further show that OC is mediated by NK-T cells since it can be induced neither in mice depleted of NK-T cells nor in mice that cannot present antigen to NK-T cells and mice lacking an NK-T cell-associated TCR. Finally, we show that NK-T cells are the source of the IL-13, since they produce IL-13 upon stimulation by alpha-galactosylceramide, an NK-T cell-specific antigen. These data thus describe a cellular mechanism underlying an experimental colitis that may explain the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.

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