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Int Immunol. 2008 Aug;20(8):1019-30. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxn060. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

IL-33 amplifies both Th1- and Th2-type responses through its activity on human basophils, allergen-reactive Th2 cells, iNKT and NK cells.

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Department of Inflammation Research, Amgen Inc., 1201 Amgen Court West, Seattle, WA, USA.


IL-33 is an IL-1 family member recently identified as the ligand for T1/ST2 (ST2), a member of the IL-1 receptor family. ST2 is stably expressed on mast cells and T(h)2 effector T cells and its function has been studied in the context of T(h)2-associated inflammation. Indeed, IL-33 induces T(h)2 cytokines from mast cells and polarized mouse T cells and leads to pulmonary and mucosal T(h)2 inflammation when administered in vivo. To better understand how this pathway modulates inflammatory responses, we examined the activity of IL-33 on a variety of human immune cells. Human blood-derived basophils expressed high levels of ST2 receptor and responded to IL-33 by producing several pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1 beta, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13 and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Next, utilizing a human T(h)2-polarized T cell culture system derived from allergic donor blood cells, we found that IL-33 was able to enhance antigen-dependent and -independent T cell responses, including IL-5, IL-13 and IFN-gamma production. IL-33 activity was also tested on V alpha 24-positive human invariant NKT (iNKT) cells. In the presence of alpha-galactosylceramide antigen presentation, IL-33 dose dependently enhanced iNKT production of several cytokines, including both IL-4 and IFN-gamma. IL-33 also directly induced IFN-gamma production from both iNKT and human NK cells via cooperation with IL-12. Taken together, these results indicate that in addition to its activity on human mast cells, IL-33 is capable of activating human basophils, polarized T cells, iNKT and NK cells. Moreover, the nature of the responses elicited by IL-33 suggests that this axis may amplify both T(h)1- and T(h)2-oriented immune responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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