The findings, which appear the April issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggest that manipulating IL-25 could provide a method to treat a wide variety of chronic inflammatory diseases.
"It appears that IL-25 has a Jekyll and Hyde personality: it can be helpful or hurtful depending on how it interacts with T helper cells, a subset of immune cells that influences inflammatory responses," said David Artis, an assistant professor in Penn's Department of Pathobiology and senior author of the study. "These studies show that IL-25 promotes type 2 T helper cells that drive the type of response required for eradicating worm infections and causing asthma. Importantly, IL-25 can simultaneously limit destructive inflammation caused by inflammatory T helper cells commonly found in diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and MS."
IL-25 can be considered a "good" cytokine by limiting chronic inflammatory responses. At the same time, the ability of IL-25 to promote type 2 responses that drive asthma could be considered the "evil" side of the cytokine.
By examining mice infected with Trichuris, a species of intestinal parasites known as whipworms, the researchers were able to define IL-25's role in promoting type 2 inflammation to fight infection. In mice that lack the ability to produce IL-25, researchers saw a dramatic reduction in the ability to mount a type 2 response that eradica
Contact: Greg Lester
University of Pennsylvania