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A Jekyll and Hyde of cytokines: IL-25 both promotes and limits inflammatory diseases

es. Furthermore, in the absence of IL-25, mice developed a destructive inflammatory response similar to that observed in models of inflammatory bowel disease.

These results also support the notion that the immune response that causes allergies and asthma is an evolutionary hangover resulting from mankind's historical fight with parasitic worm infections. That is, a type 2 response that was once useful in fighting worm infections has now become a dangerous menace, causing inflammatory responses to commonly encountered environmental antigens. About 30 percent of Americans suffer from the negative affects of type 2 inflammation: asthma and allergies. These conditions result from an inflammatory response to factors encountered in the environment, whether they are industrial air pollutants or molecules of peanut oil.

"It is possible that for most of human history, cytokines like IL-25 have promoted type 2 T helper cells that fight infection with intestinal parasites like Trichuris, " said Colby Zaph, a co-author and Irvington Research Fellow at Penn. "In industrialized countries, where worm infections are now rare, this redundant type 2 response is associated with diseases like asthma. "Identifying a role for IL-25 in this type of response may offer an exciting new avenue for treating diseases associated with dysregulated inflammatory responses," Zaph said.


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Source:University of Pennsylvania


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