IL-33 expands suppressive CD11b+ Gr-1(int) and regulatory T cells, including ST2L+ Foxp3+ cells, and mediates regulatory T cell-dependent promotion of cardiac allograft survival.
Turnquist HR., Zhao Z., Rosborough BR., Liu Q., Castellaneta A., Isse K., Wang Z., Lang M., Stolz DB., Zheng XX., Demetris AJ., Liew FY., Wood KJ., Thomson AW.
IL-33 administration is associated with facilitation of Th2 responses and cardioprotective properties in rodent models. However, in heart transplantation, the mechanism by which IL-33, signaling through ST2L (the membrane-bound form of ST2), promotes transplant survival is unclear. We report that IL-33 administration, while facilitating Th2 responses, also increases immunoregulatory myeloid cells and CD4(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in mice. IL-33 expands functional myeloid-derived suppressor cells, CD11b(+) cells that exhibit intermediate (int) levels of Gr-1 and potent T cell suppressive function. Furthermore, IL-33 administration causes an St2-dependent expansion of suppressive CD4(+) Foxp3(+) Tregs, including an ST2L(+) population. IL-33 monotherapy after fully allogeneic mouse heart transplantation resulted in significant graft prolongation associated with increased Th2-type responses and decreased systemic CD8(+) IFN-γ(+) cells. Also, despite reducing overall CD3(+) cell infiltration of the graft, IL-33 administration markedly increased intragraft Foxp3(+) cells. Whereas control graft recipients displayed increases in systemic CD11b(+) Gr-1(hi) cells, IL-33-treated recipients exhibited increased CD11b(+) Gr-1(int) cells. Enhanced ST2 expression was observed in the myocardium and endothelium of rejecting allografts, however the therapeutic effect of IL-33 required recipient St2 expression and was dependent on Tregs. These findings reveal a new immunoregulatory property of IL-33. Specifically, in addition to supporting Th2 responses, IL-33 facilitates regulatory cells, particularly functional CD4(+) Foxp3(+) Tregs that underlie IL-33-mediated cardiac allograft survival.