J Clin Invest 2016 12 24;126(12):4469-4481. Epub 2016 Oct 24.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affect over 5 million individuals in the industrialized world, with an increasing incidence rate worldwide. IBD also predisposes affected individuals to development of colorectal cancer, which is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in adults. Mutations in genes encoding molecules in the IL-33 signaling pathway are associated with colitis and colitis-associated cancer (CAC), but how IL-33 modulates gut homeostasis is unclear. Here, we have shown that Il33-deficient mice are highly susceptible to colitis and CAC. Mechanistically, we observed that IL-33 promoted IgA production from B cells, which is important for maintaining microbial homeostasis in the intestine. Il33-deficient mice developed a dysbiotic microbiota that was characterized by increased levels of mucolytic and colitogenic bacteria. In response to chemically induced colitis, this microbial landscape promoted the release of IL-1α, which acted as a critical driver of colitis and CAC. Consequently, reconstitution of symbiotic microbiota or IL-1α ablation markedly ameliorated colitis susceptibility in Il33-deficient animals. Our results demonstrate that IL-33 promotes IgA production to maintain gut microbial homoeostasis and restrain IL-1α-dependent colitis and CAC. This study therefore highlights modulation of IL-33, IgA, IL-1α, and the microbiota as a potential therapeutic approach in the treatment of IBD and CAC.