Wicher G, Husic E, Nilsson G, Forsberg-Nilsson K
Neurosci. Lett. 555 (-) 171-176 [2013-10-25; online 2013-09-27]
IL-33 has important functions in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In the brain, models of experimental encephalomyelitis are accompanied by up-regulation of IL-33 expression, and the cytokine is seen as an amplifier of the innate immune response. Little is known, however, about IL-33 the normal brain in adult life, or during development. We have analyzed the expression of IL-33 in the mouse brain during embryonic and postnatal development. Here we report that IL-33 expression was first detected in the CNS during late embryogenesis. From postnatal day 2 (P2) until P9 the expression increased and was strongest in the cerebellum, pons and thalamus, as well as in olfactory bulbs. Expression of IL-33 then became weaker and declined until P23, and it was not present in the adult brain. Both astrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursors expressed IL-33. The vast majority of IL-33 positive cells in the brain displayed nuclear staining, and this was found to be the case also in vitro, using mixed glial cultures. Our data suggest that IL-33 expression is under tight regulation in the normal brain. Its detection during the first three weeks of postnatal life coincides with important parts of the CNS developmental programs, such as general growth and myelination. This opens the possibility that IL-33 plays a role also in the absence of an inflammatory response.