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Immunol Rev. 2017 Jul;278(1):173-184. doi: 10.1111/imr.12552.

IL-33: biological properties, functions, and roles in airway disease.

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Division of Allergic Diseases and Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Interleukin (IL)-33 is a key cytokine involved in type 2 immunity and allergic airway diseases. Abundantly expressed in lung epithelial cells, IL-33 plays critical roles in both innate and adaptive immune responses in mucosal organs. In innate immunity, IL-33 and group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) provide an essential axis for rapid immune responses and tissue homeostasis. In adaptive immunity, IL-33 interacts with dendritic cells, Th2 cells, follicular T cells, and regulatory T cells, where IL-33 influences the development of chronic airway inflammation and tissue remodeling. The clinical findings that both the IL-33 and ILC2 levels are elevated in patients with allergic airway diseases suggest that IL-33 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. IL-33 and ILC2 may also serve as biomarkers for disease classification and to monitor the progression of diseases. In this article, we reviewed the current knowledge of the biology of IL-33 and discussed the roles of the IL-33 in regulating airway immune responses and allergic airway diseases.


IL-33; ILC2s; Th2 cells; asthma; rhinosinusitis; type 2 immunity

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