Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is a nuclear-associated cytokine of the IL-1 family originally described as a potent inducer of allergic type 2 immunity. IL-33 signals via the receptor ST2, which is highly expressed on group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and T helper 2 (Th2) cells, thus underpinning its association with helminth infection and allergic pathology. Recent studies have revealed ST2 expression on subsets of regulatory T cells, and for a role for IL-33 in tissue homeostasis and repair that suggests previously unrecognized interactions within these cellular networks. IL-33 can participate in pathologic fibrotic reactions, or, in the setting of microbial invasion, can cooperate with inflammatory cytokines to promote responses by cytotoxic NK cells, Th1 cells, and CD8(+) T cells. Here, we highlight the regulation and function of IL-33 and ST2 and review their roles in homeostasis, damage, and inflammation, suggesting a conceptual framework for future studies.
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