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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 136329, 10 pages
Research Article

The Possible Role of the Novel Cytokines IL-35 and IL-37 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Department of Gastroenterology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, 107 Wenhua West Road, Jinan 250012, China

Received 10 June 2014; Revised 23 July 2014; Accepted 23 July 2014; Published 18 August 2014

Academic Editor: Ishak O. Tekin

Copyright © 2014 Yanmei Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interleukin- (IL-) 35 and IL-37 are newly discovered immune-suppressing cytokines. They have been described in inflammatory diseases such as collagen-induced arthritis and asthma. However, their expressions in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients have not been yet explored. Our aim was to evaluate serum and inflamed mucosal levels in IBD patients. In 20 ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, 7 Crohn’s disease (CD) patients, and 15 healthy subjects, cytokine levels in serum were determined using ELISA and mucosal expression studies were performed by immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time PCR, and Western blot. The results showed that serums IL-35 and IL-37 levels were significantly decreased in UC and CD patients compared with healthy subjects. The cytokines levels correlated inversely with UC activity. IL-35 was expressed in infiltrating immune cells while IL-37 in intestinal epithelial cells as well as inflammatory cells. IBD patients had significantly higher Ebi3, p35 (two subunits of IL-35), and IL-37b gene expressions; IL-35 and IL-37 protein expressions were higher in IBD patients compared with controls. The study showed that serums IL-35 and IL-37 might be potentially novel biomarkers for IBD. Intestinal IL-35 and IL-37 proteins are upregulated, suggesting that regulating the expression of the two cytokines may provide a new possible target for the treatment of IBD.