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IL-33 receptor (T1/ST2) signalling is necessary to prevent the development of encephalitis in mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii

Jones, L.A. and Roberts, F. and Nickdel, M.B. and Brombacher, F. and McKenzie, Andrew N.J. and Henriquez, F.L. and Alexander, J. and Roberts, C.W. (2010) IL-33 receptor (T1/ST2) signalling is necessary to prevent the development of encephalitis in mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii. European Journal of Immunology, 40 (2). pp. 426-436. ISSN 0014-2980

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T1/ST2 is an immunoregulatory protein of the IL-1 receptor family that has recently been reported as being a component of the IL-33 receptor. IL-33 is a newly described cytokine known to amplify the Th2 response and reduce production of Th1 cytokines. The function of T1/ST2 during Toxoplasma gondii infection is as yet undescribed. Given the requirement of a balanced type 1/type 2 response for effective control of parasite number and immunopathology, it is likely that T1/ST2 may play a part in aiding this process. Accordingly, we have shown that T1/ST2 mRNA transcripts are upregulated in the brains of mice infected with T. gondii and that mice deficient in T1/ST2 demonstrated increased susceptibility to infection with T. gondii that correlated with increased pathology and greater parasite burden in the brains. Real-time PCR analysis of cerebral cytokine levels revealed increased mRNA levels of iNOS, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha in infected T1/ST2(-/-) mice. These effects were independent of changes in IL-10 production. This study provides the first evidence of a specific role for IL-33 receptor signalling in the brain as well as highlighting the requirement of this mechanism in limiting infection with an intracellular parasite.