Oxazolone colitis, a Th2 colitis model resembling ulcerative colitis, is mediated by IL-13-producing NK-T cells

Immunity. 2002 Nov;17(5):629-38. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(02)00453-3.


Oxazolone colitis (OC) is an experimental colitis that has a histologic resemblance to human ulcerative colitis. Here we show that IL-13 production is a significant pathologic factor in OC since its neutralization by IL-13Ralpha2-Fc administration prevents colitis. We further show that OC is mediated by NK-T cells since it can be induced neither in mice depleted of NK-T cells nor in mice that cannot present antigen to NK-T cells and mice lacking an NK-T cell-associated TCR. Finally, we show that NK-T cells are the source of the IL-13, since they produce IL-13 upon stimulation by alpha-galactosylceramide, an NK-T cell-specific antigen. These data thus describe a cellular mechanism underlying an experimental colitis that may explain the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / immunology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-13 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxazolone
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Interleukin-13
  • Oxazolone