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Cytokine. 2013 Feb;61(2):433-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.10.035. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Interleukin-33 overexpression is associated with gamma-glutamyl transferase in biliary atresia.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of Fudan University, and Key Laboratory of Neonatal Disease, Ministry of Health, 399 Wan Yuan Road, Shanghai 201102, China.


Interleukin-33 (IL-33) plays a crucial role in inflammation. However, it is not clear whether IL-33 levels are of clinical significance for patients with biliary atresia (BA). The purpose of this study was to determine correlations between serum IL-33 levels and the clinicopathologic features of BA. Serum samples were collected from 18 BA infants, 12 nonicteric choledochal cyst (CC) infants with normal liver function, and 10 healthy controls (HCs). Serum IL-33 levels were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Routine liver function tests were performed on the serum samples. qRT-PCR and Western blot analysis were used to detect IL-33 expression in BA liver biopsy tissues. Hepatic lobule localization of IL-33 expression in the hepatic lobule was conducted by immunohistochemistry (IHC). IL-33 levels in serum collected from BA infants were significantly elevated in comparison with CC and HC patients. Furthermore, the elevated serum levels of IL-33 in BA infants were correlated with gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels. The expression of IL-33 mRNA and protein levels were up-regulated in BA liver biopsy tissues in comparison with CC patients. IHC analysis revealed increased positive immunostaining for IL-33 in BA liver tissues as compared to that in CC tissues. These results suggest that IL-33 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of BA. In addition, the correlation of serum IL-33 levels with GGT levels may provide a novel marker for the diagnosis of BA.

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