Absence of a role for interleukin-13 in inflammatory bowel disease

Paolo Biancheri, Antonio Di Sabatino, Francesca Ammoscato, Federica Facciotti, Flavio Caprioli, Renata Curciarello, Syed S Hoque, Amir Ghanbari, Ijeoma Joe-Njoku, Paolo Giuffrida, Laura Rovedatti, Jens Geginat, Gino R Corazza, Thomas T MacDonald

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76 Citations (Scopus)


IL-13 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis (UC), and may have a role in animal models of gut fibrosis. We studied the involvement of IL-13 in inflammation and fibrosis in UC and Crohn's disease (CD). Intestinal biopsies and anti-CD3/CD28- or anti-CD2/CD28-stimulated lamina propria mononuclear cells from UC and CD patients and control subjects were cultured, and IL-13, IL-4, IL-5, IL-17A and IFN-γ production was measured. Mucosal IL-13-producing cells were characterised by flow cytometry. Gut explants from strictured CD, non-strictured CD and healthy donors were cultured ex vivo, and secreted IL-13, IL-1β and collagen were measured. IL-13 production by mucosal explants and activated lamina propria mononuclear cells did not differ between CD, UC and control subjects, and was at least a log lower than IFN-γ and IL-17A. IL-13-producing cells, and in particular natural killer T cells, were uniformly low in all groups. IL-4 and IL-5 were undetectable in culture supernatants. Explants of CD strictures produced low amounts of IL-13, whereas IL-1β and collagen were elevated. We could not confirm that UC or strictured CD are associated with elevated IL-13 production. These data suggest that an anti-IL-13 Ab would not be an appropriate therapeutic strategy in inflammatory bowel disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-385
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CD28 Antigens/immunology
  • CD3 Complex/immunology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative/immunology
  • Crohn Disease/immunology
  • Fibrosis/immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation/immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/immunology
  • Interferon-gamma/immunology
  • Interleukin-13/immunology
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit/immunology
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha2 Subunit/immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa/immunology
  • Intestines/immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology
  • Macrophages/immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane/immunology
  • Natural Killer T-Cells/immunology
  • Th2 Cells/immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1/immunology
  • Young Adult

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