Interleukin-1 family cytokine biology
Cytokines are small signaling proteins conveying information between cells, in particular in the immune system. This communication is essential to orchestrate the complex interactions occurring between immune and tissue cells during the response to infection or sterile tissue damage.
In this context, cytokines of the interleukin (IL)-1 family play an important role in initiating inflammation and innate immunity, as well as in polarizing appropriate adaptive immune responses. However, these processes need to be tightly regulated, as excessive immune activation can cause immunopathology and lead to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. The pro-inflammatory activity of IL-1 family cytokines is thus controlled at many levels, including inhibition by antagonistic family members, which limit inflammatory responses.
We are particularly interested in studying the biology of one of these anti-inflammatory IL-1 family cytokines, IL-38, and its role in regulating inflammatory processes in epithelial barrier tissues, such as the skin and the lung. An important focus of our research is the analysis of the molecular mechanisms underlying the biological effects of IL-38, as this knowledge may translate into novel therapeutic strategies for inflammatory diseases.