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J Immunol. 2010 Sep 15;185(6):3472-80. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1000730. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

IL-33 exacerbates eosinophil-mediated airway inflammation.

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Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation, Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


IL-33 has emerged as an important mediator in the immunopathogenesis of allergy and asthma. However, the role of IL-33 in eosinophil-mediated inflammation has not been fully explored. In this article, we report that IL-33 directly stimulates eosinophil differentiation from CD117(+) progenitors in an IL-5-dependent manner. Although resting eosinophils expressed moderate levels of the IL-33R alpha-chain (ST2L), eosinophils that accumulated in the airways of mice with OVA-induced asthma expressed increased amounts of ST2L. In vitro, IL-33 and GM-CSF are potent inducers of ST2L expression on eosinophils, and IL-33 induced the production of IL-13, CCL17, and TGF-beta by eosinophils. In adoptive-transfer experiments, IL-33 exacerbated eosinophil-mediated airway inflammation by increasing the levels of eosinophils, macrophages, lymphocytes, IL-13, TGF-beta, CCL3, CCL17, and CCL24 in the lungs. IL-33 also enhanced the eosinophil-mediated differentiation of airway macrophages toward the alternatively activated macrophage phenotype in an IL-13-dependent manner. Taken together, this study demonstrates that the IL-33/ST2 signaling pathway activates airway eosinophils that exacerbate airway inflammation in an autocrine and paracrine manner.

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