Interleukin-33 contributes to ILC2 activation and early inflammation-associated lung injury during abdominal sepsis

Hui Xu, Jing Xu, Li Xu, Shuqing Jin, Heth R. Turnquist, Rosemary Hoffman, Patricia Loughran, Timothy R. Billiar*, Meihong Deng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Sepsis is defined as infection with organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated immune response. The lung is one of the most vulnerable organs at the onset of sepsis. Interleukin (IL)-33 can be released by injured epithelial and endothelial cells in the lung and regulate immune activation and infiltration. Therefore, we postulated that IL-33 would contribute to the immune response in the lung during sepsis. Using the cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) sepsis model, we show here that IL-33 contributes significantly to both sepsis-induced inflammation in the lung and systemic inflammatory response in the early phase of sepsis. Despite the higher intra-peritoneal bacterial burden, the absence of IL-33 resulted in less infiltration of neutrophils and monocytes into the lungs in association with lower circulating, lung and liver cytokine levels as well as reduced lung injury at 6 h after sepsis. IL-33 was required for the upregulation of IL-5 in type 2 Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILC2), while IL-5 neutralization suppressed neutrophil and monocyte infiltration in the lungs during CLP sepsis. This reduction in leukocyte infiltration in IL-33-deficient mice was reversed by administration of recombinant IL-5. These results indicate that IL-33 plays a major role in the local inflammatory changes in the lung, in part, by regulating IL-5 and this axis contributes to lung injury early after the onset of sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-947
Number of pages13
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • interleukin-33
  • lung
  • sepsis


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