Interleukin-31 expression and relation to disease severity in human asthma

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 9:6:22835. doi: 10.1038/srep22835.


Interleukin 31 (IL-31) is a novel T helper type 2 effector cytokine that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. However, its role in human asthma remains unclear. The aim of this study was to measure IL-31 levels in the serum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and bronchial tissue of asthmatics and healthy subjects, and identify its possible correlation to disease severity. We quantified IL-31 levels in the serum of patients with asthma (n = 44), as well as in controls (n = 22). Of these subjects, 9 asthmatics and five controls underwent bronchoscopy with endobronchial biopsy and BALF collection. Our data showed that serum and BALF IL-31 levels were significantly elevated in patients with asthma compared with controls. Expressions of IL-31 and IL-31 receptor (IL-31RA and OSMR) were more prominent in the bronchial tissue in severe compared to mild asthma and controls. Serum IL-31 levels correlated positively with Th2 related cytokines (IL-5, IL-13, and TSLP), asthma severity or total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), and inversely with asthma control and the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1). The current data may provide insight into the underlying pathogenesis of asthma, in which IL-31 has an important pathogenic role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Bronchi / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / analysis*
  • Interleukins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Mucosa / chemistry


  • IL31 protein, human
  • Interleukins