Disease-associated functions of IL-33: the new kid in the IL-1 family

Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Feb;10(2):103-10. doi: 10.1038/nri2692. Epub 2010 Jan 18.


Interleukin-33 (IL-33), a newly described member of the IL-1 family, is expressed by many cell types following pro-inflammatory stimulation and is thought to be released on cell lysis. The IL-33 receptor, consisting of ST2 and IL-1 receptor accessory protein, is also widely expressed, particularly by T helper 2 (T(H)2) cells and mast cells. IL-33 is host-protective against helminth infection and reduces atherosclerosis by promoting T(H)2-type immune responses. However, IL-33 can also promote the pathogenesis of asthma by expanding T(H)2 cells and mediate joint inflammation, atopic dermatitis and anaphylaxis by mast cell activation. Thus IL-33 could be a new target for therapeutic intervention across a range of diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-33
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • IL33 protein, human
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-33
  • Interleukins