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since 01/2001:

interleukin 33 OKDB#: 4790
 Symbols: IL33 Species: human
 Synonyms: DVS27, IL1F11, NF-HEV, NFEHEV, C9orf26  Locus: 9p24.1 in Homo sapiens

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DNA Microarrays
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General Comment Therapeutic Strategies for Targeting IL-33/ST2 Signalling for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases. Chen WY et al. (2018) Interleukin (IL)-33, a member of the IL-1 family of cytokines, is involved in innate and adaptive immune responses via interaction with its receptor, ST2. Activation of ST2 signalling by IL-33 triggers pleiotropic immune functions in multiple ST2-expressing immune cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, mast cells, type 2 helper T cells, regulatory T cells, and group 2 innate lymphoid cells. IL-33-mediated effector functions contribute to the tissue inflammatory and reparative responses in various organs including lung, skin, kidney, central nerve system, cardiovascular system, and gastrointestinal system. Endogenous IL-33/ ST2 signaling exhibits diverse immune regulatory functions during progression of different diseases. IL-33 likely functions as a disease sensitizer and plays pathological roles in inflamed tissues in allergic disorders that involve hyperreactive immune responses in the context of skin and pulmonary allergy. However, IL-33 also mediates tissue-protective functions during the recovery phase following tissue injury in the central nerve system and gastrointestinal system. Modulation of the IL-33/ST2 axis, therefore, represents a promising strategy for treating immune disorders that involve dysregulation of the cytokine signalling. In the past two decades, therapeutic strategies blocking IL-33/ST2 have been extensively studied for the treatment of diseases in animal models. In this review, the current progress on the development of therapeutic biologics for targeting IL-33/ST2 signalling in inflammatory diseases is summarized.////////////////// IL-33 mediates its biological effects by interacting with the receptors ST2 (aka IL1RL1) and IL-1 Receptor Accessory Protein (IL1RAP), activating intracellular molecules in the NF-κB and MAP kinase signaling pathways that drive production of type 2 cytokines (e.g. IL-5 and IL-13) from polarized Th2 cells.

NCBI Summary: The protein encoded by this gene is a cytokine that binds to the IL1RL1/ST2 receptor. The encoded protein is involved in the maturation of Th2 cells and the activation of mast cells, basophils, eosinophils and natural killer cells. Several transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2015]
General function Ligand, Cytokine
Cellular localization Secreted
Ovarian function
Comment Unique temporal and spatial expression patterns of IL-33 in ovaries during ovulation and estrous cycle are associated with ovarian tissue homeostasis. Carlock CI et al. (2014) Ovaries are among the most active organs. Frequently occurring events such as ovulation and ovarian atresia are accompanied with tissue destruction and repairing. Critical roles of immune cells or molecules in those events have been well recognized. IL-33 is a new member of the IL-1 cytokine gene family. Recent studies suggest its roles beyond immune responses. We systemically examined its expression in ovaries for its potential roles in ovarian functions. During ovulation, a high level of IL-33 was transiently expressed, making it the most significantly upregulated immune gene. During estrous cycle, IL-33 expression levels fluctuated along with numbers of ovarian macrophages and atresia wave. Cells with nuclear form of IL-33 (nIL-33(+) cells) were mostly endothelial cells of veins, either in the inner layer of theca of ovulating follicles during ovulation, or surrounding follicles during estrous cycle. Changes in number of nIL-33(+) cells showed a tendency similar to that in IL-33 mRNA level during estrous cycle. However, the cell number sharply declined before a rapid increase of macrophages and a surge of atresia. The decline in nIL-33(+) cell number was coincident with detection of higher level of the cytokine form of IL-33 by Western blot, suggesting a release of cytokine form of IL-33 before the surge of macrophage migration and atresia. However, IL-33 Ab, either by passive transfer or immunization, showed a limited effect on ovulation or atresia. It raises a possibility of IL-33's role in tissue homeostasis after ovarian events, instead of a direct involvement in ovarian functions.//////////////////
Expression regulated by LH
Comment Major increases after preovulatory LH surge
Ovarian localization Granulosa
Comment Detection of Soluble ST2 in Human Follicular Fluid and Luteinized Granulosa Cells. Southcombe JH 2013 et al. Follicular fluid (FF) contains various cytokines that are involved with folliculogenesis, some of which have been shown to be associated with oocyte quality and the implantation potential of a resulting embryo. Several IL-1 family members have previously been identified in FF. This study investigates a newly identified member of the family, IL-33, and its receptor ST2, comparing values to those of FF Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) - a known predictor of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) success. FF was collected from patients undergoing in vitro fertilisation/intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) at oocyte retrieval to analyse IL-33 and sST2 expression in human follicles. sST2, but not IL-33, is highly increased in the FF compared to plasma levels (up to 7.9-fold), with higher levels in larger follicles (p<0.05). Furthermore, we identify that human luteinised granulosa cells are one possible source of the FF sST2, as these cells express and secrete sST2 when cultured ex vivo. FF associated with oocytes which when fertilised develop into good quality embryos have higher sST2 levels than those which are graded average (p<0.01). These embryos were transferred to the patient and levels of FF sST2 compared between successful and unsuccessful ICSI cycles. However unlike G-CSF, sST2 levels cannot be used to predict cycle outcome. /////////////////////////
Follicle stages
Comment Ovarian phagocyte subsets and their distinct tissue distribution patterns. Carlock C et al. (2013) Ovarian macrophages, which play critical roles in various ovarian events, are probably derived from multiple lineages. Thus, a systemic classification of their subsets is a necessary first step for determination of their functions. Utilizing antibodies to five phagocyte markers, i.e. IA/IE (major histocompatibility complex class II), F4/80, CD11b (Mac-1), CD11c, and CD68, this study investigated subsets of ovarian phagocytes in mice. Three-color immunofluorescence and flow cytometry, together with morphological observation on isolated ovarian cells, demonstrated complicated phenotypes of ovarian phagocytes. Four macrophage and one dendritic cell subset, in addition to many minor phagocyte subsets, were identified. A dendritic cell-like population with a unique phenotype of CD11c(high)IA/IE⁻F4/80⁻ was also frequently observed. A preliminary age-dependent study showed dramatic increases in IA/IE⁺ macrophages and IA/IE⁺ dendritic cells after puberty. Furthermore, immunofluorescences on ovarian sections showed that each subset displayed a distinct tissue distribution pattern. The pattern for each subset may hint to their role in an ovarian function. In addition, partial isolation of ovarian macrophage subset using CD11b antibodies was attempted. Establishment of this isolation method may have provided us a tool for more precise investigation of each subset's functions at the cellular and molecular levels.//////////////////
Mutations 1 mutations

Species: mouse
Mutation name:
type: null mutation
fertility: subfertile
Comment: IL-33 is required for disposal of unnecessary cells during ovarian atresia through regulation of autophagy and macrophage migration. Wu J et al. (2015) Physiological processes such as ovarian follicle atresia generate large amounts of unnecessary cells or tissue detritus, which needs to be disposed of rapidly. IL-33 is a member of the IL-1 cytokine gene family. Constitutive expression of IL-33 in a wide range of tissues has hinted at its role beyond immune defense. We have previously reported a close correlation between IL-33 expression patterns and ovarian atresia. In this study, we demonstrated that IL-33 is required for disposal of degenerative tissue during ovarian atresia using Il33(-/-) mice. Deletion of the Il33 gene impaired normal disposal of atretic follicles, resulting in massive accumulations of tissue wastes abundant with aging-related catabolic wastes such as lipofuscin. Accumulation of tissue wastes in Il33(-/-) mice, in turn, accelerated ovarian aging and functional decline. Thus, their reproductive life span was shortened to two thirds of that for Il33(+/-) littermates. IL-33 orchestrated disposal mechanism through regulation of autophagy in degenerating tissues and macrophage migration into the tissues. Our study provides direct evidence supporting an expanded role of IL-33 in tissue integrity and aging through regulating disposal of unnecessary tissues or cells.//////////////////

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created: Nov. 27, 2012, 8:52 a.m. by: hsueh   email:
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last update: April 28, 2021, 4:40 p.m. by: hsueh    email:

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