Thymic stromal lymphopoietin


Address for correspondence: Raif S. Geha, Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital, One Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115. Voice: 617-919-2482; fax: 617-730-0528.


Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an epithelial cell-derived cytokine expressed in skin, gut, lungs, and thymus. TSLP signals via a TSLP receptor (TSLPR), a heterodimer of the IL-7 receptor α chain and the TSLPR chain. The TSLPR chain is closely related to the common receptor γ chain that is expressed on a wide range of cell types in the adaptive and innate immune system. TSLP exerts a profound influence on the polarization of dendritic cells to drive T helper (Th) 2 cytokine production. TSLP also directly promotes T-cell proliferation in response to T-cell receptor activation and Th2 cytokine production and supports B-cell expansion and differentiation. TSLP further amplifies Th2 cytokine production by mast cells and natural killer T cells. These properties confer on TSLP a critical role in driving Th2-mediated inflammation. This role is supported by the finding that TSLP expression is upregulated in keratinocytes of atopic dermatitis skin lesions and in bronchial epithelial cells in asthma.