IL-33 promotes airway remodeling in pediatric patients with severe steroid-resistant asthma

Sejal Saglani, Stephen Lui, Nicola Ullmann, Gaynor A. Campbell, Rebekah T. Sherburn, Sara A. Mathie, Laura Denney, Cara J. Bossley, Timothy Oates, Simone A. Walker, Andrew Bush, Clare M. Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: TH2 cytokines are not responsible for the ongoing symptoms and pathology in children with severe therapy-resistant asthma (STRA). IL-33 induces airway hyperresponsiveness, but its role in airway remodeling and steroid resistance is unknown. Objective: We sought to investigate the relationship between IL-33 and airway remodeling in pediatric patients with STRA. Methods: IL-33 levels were quantified in neonatal mice given inhaled house dust mite (HDM), and the effect of blocking IL-13 on remodeling and IL-33 levels was assessed. HDM-induced allergic airways disease (AAD) in neonatal ST2-/- mice lacking the IL-33 receptor was assessed, together with collagen production after IL-33 administration. The effect of steroid therapy on IL-33 levels in patients with neonatal AAD was explored. IL-33 expression was quantified in endobronchial biopsy (EB) specimens from children with STRA and related to remodeling, and collagen production by airway fibroblasts from pediatric patients stimulated with IL-33 and budesonide was quantified. Results: Blocking IL-13 after AAD was established in neonatal mice and did not reduce remodeling or IL-33 levels; airway hyperresponsiveness was only partially reduced. IL-33 promoted collagen synthesis both from asthmatic fibroblasts from pediatric patients and after intranasal administration in mice. Increased cellular expression of IL-33, but not IL-13, was associated with increased reticular basement membrane thickness in EB specimens from children with STRA, whereas remodeling was absent in HDM-exposed ST2-/- mice. IL-33 levels were maintained, whereas IL-13 levels were abrogated by steroid treatment in neonatal HDM-exposed mice and in EB specimens from children with STRA. Conclusion: IL-33 is a relatively steroid-resistant mediator that promotes airway remodeling in patients with STRA and is an important therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013



  • airway remodeling
  • Asthma
  • IL-33
  • pediatric
  • steroid resistance
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

Saglani, S., Lui, S., Ullmann, N., Campbell, G. A., Sherburn, R. T., Mathie, S. A., Denney, L., Bossley, C. J., Oates, T., Walker, S. A., Bush, A., & Lloyd, C. M. (2013). IL-33 promotes airway remodeling in pediatric patients with severe steroid-resistant asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 132(3).