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A key regulator of gut health - IL-25

26 April 2013


Does the cytokine IL-25 hold the key to preventing gut dysfunction?

Scientists at the Malaghan Institute have identified the cell signaling protein interleukin-25 (IL-25) as an important regulator of gut immunity. It has profound effects on gut associated disease models, however the immunological mechanisms by which IL-25 regulates gut health remains unclear.

PhD student Catherine Plunkett has been using a combination of experimental mouse models of gut dysfunction and human clinical samples to further investigate the role of IL-25 in the regulation of gut inflammation. Contrary to expectations, Catherine’s experiments revealed that IL-25 expression actually inhibits intestinal inflammation. Mice deficient in IL-25 have an earlier onset and exhibit greater severity of experimental colitis compared to normal controls. This finding is supported by clinical studies that demonstrate the production of IL-25 is defective in IBD patients.

Intriguingly, IL-25 deficient mice have a greater propensity to be obese, a phenomenon that is currently being investigated. These approaches offer the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of multiple chronic inflammatory diseases.


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