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

Li Yin Drake, Hirohito Kita

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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