Targeting the IL-33/IL-13 Axis for Respiratory Viral Infections

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Apr;37(4):252-261. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Jan 29.


Lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are highly prevalent worldwide. One of the major factors that limits the efficacy of current medication in these patients are viral infections, leading to exacerbations of symptoms and decreased quality of life. Current pharmacological strategies targeting virus-induced lung disease are problematic due to antiviral resistance and the requirement for strain-specific vaccination. Thus, new therapeutic strategies are urgently required. In this Opinion article, we provide state-of-the-art evidence from humans and preclinical animal models implicating the interleukin (IL)-33/IL-13 axis in virus-induced lung disease. Thus, targeting the IL-33/IL-13 axis may be a feasible way to overcome the limitations of current therapy used to treat virus-induced exacerbations of lung disease.

Keywords: acute exacerbation; interleukin-13; interleukin-33; viral infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interleukin-13 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology
  • Interleukin-33 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-33 / immunology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / virology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / virology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-33