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  1. Song Wang, MM*†‡,
  2. Lei Ding, MM†‡,
  3. Shan-Shan Liu, MM†‡,
  4. Chao Wang, MD†‡,
  5. Rui-Xue Leng, MD†‡,
  6. Gui-Mei Chen, MD†‡,
  7. Yin-Guang Fan, MD†‡,
  8. Hai-Feng Pan, MD†‡,
  9. Dong-Qing Ye, MD, PhD†‡
  1. From the *Medical Administration Department, The Second Hospital of Anhui Medical University; †Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University; and ‡Anhui Provincial Laboratory of Population Health and Major Disease Screening and Diagnosis, Anhui Medical University, Anhui, PR China.
  1. Received January 12, 2012, and in revised form July 29, 2012.
  2. Accepted for publication July 31, 2012.
  3. Reprints: Dong-Qing Ye, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, 81 Meishan Rd, Hefei, Anhui, 230032, PR China. E-mail: ydq{at}
  4. Wang and Ding contributed equally to this work and should be considered co–first authors.
  5. Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81172764 and 81102192) and the Dr. Start-up Foundation of Anhui Medical University (No. XJ201014).

A Potential Therapeutic Target in Autoimmune Diseases


Interleukin 33 (IL-33) is a newly described member of the IL-1 superfamily of cytokines. Through activation of the ST2 receptor, which is widely expressed particularly by helper T 2 cells and mast cells, IL-33 is involved in T-cell–mediated immune responses. Many previous studies have demonstrated that IL-33 may have a pleiotropic function in different diseases, and it could represent a novel target for the treatment of a range of diseases. Recent works have explored the role of IL-33 in chronic autoimmune diseases, such as systemic sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. These results indicate that IL-33 may contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic autoimmune diseases. Hence, in this review, we discuss the biological features of IL-33 and summarize recent advances on the role of IL-33 in the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Key Words
  • IL-33
  • ST2
  • therapeutic target
  • autoimmune diseases

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