IL-33 and its decoy sST2 in patients with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment

J Neuroinflammation. 2020 Jun 6;17(1):174. doi: 10.1186/s12974-020-01806-4.


Background: Interleukin-33 is a cytokine endowed with pro- and anti-inflammatory properties that plays a still poorly defined role in the pathogenesis of a number of central nervous system (CNS) conditions including Alzheimer's disease (AD). We analyzed this cytokine and its decoy receptor sST2 in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Method: IL-33 and sST2 were analyzed in serum and CSF of AD and MCI patients, comparing the results to those obtained in age-matched healthy controls (HC). Because of the ambiguous role of IL-33 in inflammation, the concentration of both inflammatory (IL-1β and IL-6) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines was analyzed as well in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the same individuals. Finally, the effect of IL-33 on in vitro Aβ42-stimulated monocytes of AD, MCI, and HC individuals was examined.

Results: As compared to HC, (1) IL-33 was significantly decreased in serum and CSF of AD and MCI, (2) sST2 was increased in serum of AD and MCI but was undetectable in CSF, (3) serum and CSF IL-1β concentration was significantly increased and that of IL-10 was reduced in AD and MCI, whereas no differences were observed in IL-6. In vitro addition of IL-33 to LPS+Aβ 42-stimulated monocytes downregulated IL-1β generation in MCI and HC, but not in AD, and stimulated IL-10 production in HC alone. IL-33 addition also resulted in a significant reduction of NF-kB nuclear translocation in LPS+Aβ42-stimulated monocytes of HC alone.

Conclusions: These data support the hypothesis that IL-33 plays a complex anti-inflammatory role that is lost in AD- and MCI-associated neuroinflammation; results herein also suggest a possible use of IL-33 as a novel therapeutic approach in AD and MCI.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Inflammation; Interleukin 33; sST2 decoy receptor.