Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is an IL-1 family cytokine that signals via its receptor T1/ST2, and is a key regulator of inflammation, notably the type-2 response implicated in allergic asthma. Critical to our understanding of the role of IL-33 is the identification of the cellular sources of IL-33. Although progress has been made in this area, the development of a robust live cell reporter of expression would allow the localisation of IL-33 during ongoing immune responses. We have generated a fluorescent reporter mouse line, Il33(Cit/+), to define the expression profile of IL-33 in vivo and demonstrate its temporal and spatial expression during experimental allergic asthma responses. We found that type-2 pneumocytes constitute the major source of IL-33 upon allergic lung inflammation following exposure to OVA, fungal extract or ragweed pollen. Using Il33(Cit/Cit) mice (IL-33-deficient), we establish a role for IL-33 early in the initiation of type-2 responses and the induction of nuocytes (ILC2). We also demonstrate a potential mechanism of action by which IL-33 rapidly initiates type-2 immune responses. Il33(Cit/+) mice have enabled new insights into the initiation of type-2 responses and will provide an important tool for further dissection of this important inflammatory pathway in vivo.
© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.