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Eur J Immunol. 2013 Feb;43(2):488-98. doi: 10.1002/eji.201242863. Epub 2012 Dec 26.

IL-33 citrine reporter mice reveal the temporal and spatial expression of IL-33 during allergic lung inflammation.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, UK.


Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is an IL-1 family cytokine that signals via its receptor T1/ST2, and is a key regulator of inflammation, notably the type-2 response implicated in allergic asthma. Critical to our understanding of the role of IL-33 is the identification of the cellular sources of IL-33. Although progress has been made in this area, the development of a robust live cell reporter of expression would allow the localisation of IL-33 during ongoing immune responses. We have generated a fluorescent reporter mouse line, Il33(Cit/+), to define the expression profile of IL-33 in vivo and demonstrate its temporal and spatial expression during experimental allergic asthma responses. We found that type-2 pneumocytes constitute the major source of IL-33 upon allergic lung inflammation following exposure to OVA, fungal extract or ragweed pollen. Using Il33(Cit/Cit) mice (IL-33-deficient), we establish a role for IL-33 early in the initiation of type-2 responses and the induction of nuocytes (ILC2). We also demonstrate a potential mechanism of action by which IL-33 rapidly initiates type-2 immune responses. Il33(Cit/+) mice have enabled new insights into the initiation of type-2 responses and will provide an important tool for further dissection of this important inflammatory pathway in vivo.

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