Interleukin-15 (IL-15) exerts many biological functions essential for the maintenance and function of multiple cell types. Although its expression is tightly regulated, IL-15 upregulation has been reported in many organ-specific autoimmune disorders. In celiac disease, an intestinal inflammatory disorder driven by gluten exposure, the upregulation of IL-15 expression in the intestinal mucosa has become a hallmark of the disease. Interestingly, because it is overexpressed both in the gut epithelium and in the lamina propria, IL-15 acts on distinct cell types and impacts distinct immune components and pathways to disrupt intestinal immune homeostasis. In this article, we review our current knowledge of the multifaceted roles of IL-15 with regard to the main immunological processes involved in the pathogenesis of celiac disease.
Keywords: IL-15; autoimmunity; celiac disease; cytotoxic T cells; loss of oral tolerance; tissue.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.