IL-13 is a T-helper type 2 cytokine. Animal models have implicated IL-13 as a critical cytokine in the development of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In vitro IL-13 exerts important effects on both structural and inflammatory cells within the airway and has the capacity to drive the clinical features of airways disease. In asthma, this view is strongly supported by associations with IL-13 genetic polymorphisms and increased mRNA and protein expression in blood, sputum and bronchial submucosa. In particular, IL-13 up-regulation is associated with severe disease. Current evidence in COPD is conflicting, with some reports supporting and others refuting a role for IL-13. Early clinical trials of anti-IL-13 therapies in asthma have shown promise, and the results of further efficacy studies are eagerly awaited.
Cite this as: C. E. Brightling, S. Saha and F. Hollins, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 42–49.