Interleukin 33: a switch-hitting cytokine

Curr Opin Immunol. 2014 Jun;28:102-6. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2014.03.004. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


For many years IL-33 has been widely studied in the context of T helper type 2 (Th2)-driven inflammatory disorders. Interestingly, IL-33 has now emerged as a cytokine with a plethora of pleiotropic properties. Depending on the immune cells targeted by IL-33, it is reported to not only promote Th2 immunity, but also to induce T helper type 1 (Th1) immunity. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that IL-33 can activate CD8(+) T cells. These new studies provide evidence for its beneficial role in antiviral and antitumor immunity. Here we review the evidence of IL-33 to drive protective T cell immunity plus its potential use as an adjuvant in vaccination and tumor therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins