The epithelial cell–derived cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), IL-33, and IL-25 are central regulators of type 2 immunity, which drives a broad array of allergic responses. Often characterized as “alarmins” that are released by the barrier epithelium in response to external insults, these epithelial cell–derived cytokines were initially thought to act only early in allergic inflammation. Indeed, TSLP can condition dendritic cells to initiate type 2 responses, and IL-33 may influence susceptibility to asthma through its role in establishing the immune environment in the perinatal lungs. However, TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 all regulate a broad spectrum of innate immune cell populations and are particularly potent in eliciting and activating type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) that may act throughout allergic inflammation. Recent data suggest that a TSLP/ILC axis may mediate steroid resistance in asthma. Recent identification of memory Th2 cell subsets that are characterized by high receptor expression for TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 further supports a role for these cytokines in allergic exacerbations. There is therefore growing interest in developing biologics that target TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25. This Review provides an overview of TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 and the development of blocking antibodies that target these epithelial cell–derived cytokines.
Florence Roan, Kazushige Obata-Ninomiya, Steven F. Ziegler