Sterile particle-induced inflammation is mediated by macrophages releasing IL-33 through a Bruton's tyrosine kinase-dependent pathway

Nat Mater. 2019 Mar;18(3):289-297. doi: 10.1038/s41563-018-0271-6. Epub 2019 Jan 21.


Initiation of the innate sterile inflammatory response that can develop in response to microparticle exposure is little understood. Here, we report that a potent type 2 immune response associated with the accumulation of neutrophils, eosinophils and alternatively activated (M2) macrophages was observed in response to sterile microparticles similar in size to wear debris associated with prosthetic implants. Although elevations in interleukin-33 (IL-33) and type 2 cytokines occurred independently of caspase-1 inflammasome signalling, the response was dependent on Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). IL-33 was produced by macrophages and BTK-dependent expression of IL-33 by macrophages was sufficient to initiate the type 2 response. Analysis of inflammation in patient periprosthetic tissue also revealed type 2 responses under aseptic conditions in patients undergoing revision surgery. These findings indicate that microparticle-induced sterile inflammation is initiated by macrophages activated to produce IL-33. They further suggest that both BTK and IL-33 may provide therapeutic targets for wear debris-induced periprosthetic inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase / metabolism*
  • Arthroplasty / adverse effects
  • Caspase 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Interleukin-33 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-33 / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Interleukin-33
  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase
  • Caspase 1