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J Clin Invest. 2019 Apr 1;129(4):1441-1451. doi: 10.1172/JCI124606. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Epithelial cell-derived cytokines: more than just signaling the alarm.

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Immunology Program, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and.
Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


The epithelial cell-derived cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), IL-33, and IL-25 are central regulators of type 2 immunity, which drives a broad array of allergic responses. Often characterized as "alarmins" that are released by the barrier epithelium in response to external insults, these epithelial cell-derived cytokines were initially thought to act only early in allergic inflammation. Indeed, TSLP can condition dendritic cells to initiate type 2 responses, and IL-33 may influence susceptibility to asthma through its role in establishing the immune environment in the perinatal lungs. However, TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 all regulate a broad spectrum of innate immune cell populations and are particularly potent in eliciting and activating type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) that may act throughout allergic inflammation. Recent data suggest that a TSLP/ILC axis may mediate steroid resistance in asthma. Recent identification of memory Th2 cell subsets that are characterized by high receptor expression for TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 further supports a role for these cytokines in allergic exacerbations. There is therefore growing interest in developing biologics that target TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25. This Review provides an overview of TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 and the development of blocking antibodies that target these epithelial cell-derived cytokines.

[Available on 2020-04-01]
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