Role for nuclear interleukin-37 in the suppression of innate immunity

Suzhao Li, Jesus Amo-Aparicio, Charles P. Neff, Isak W. Tengesdal, Tania Azam, Brent E. Palmer, Rubèn López-Vales, Philip Bufler, Charles A. Dinarello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

23 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved. The IL-1 family member IL-37 broadly suppresses innate inflammation and acquired immunity. Similar to IL-1α and IL-33, IL-37 is a dual-function cytokine in that IL-37 translocates to the nucleus but also transmits a signal via surface membrane receptors. The role of nuclear IL-37 remains unknown on the ability of this cytokine to inhibit innate inflammation. Here, we compared suppression of innate inflammation in transgenic mice expressing native human IL-37 (IL-37Tg) with those of transgenic mice carrying the mutation of aspartic acid (D) to alanine (A) at amino acid 20 (IL-37D20ATg). The mutation D20A prevents cleavage of caspase-1, a step required for IL-37 nuclear translocation. In vitro, peritoneal macrophages from IL-37Tg mice reduced LPS-induced IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα and IFNγ by 40–50% whereas in macrophages from IL-37D20ATg mice this suppression was not observed, consistent with loss of nuclear function. Compared with macrophages from IL-37Tg mice, significantly less or no suppression of LPS-induced MAP kinase and NFκB activation was also observed in macrophages from IL-37D20ATg mice. In vivo, levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNFα in the lungs and liver were markedly reduced during endotoxemia in IL-37Tg mice but not observed in IL-37D20ATg mice. However, suppression of innate inflammation remains intact in the IL-37D20A mice once the cytokine is released from the cell and binds to its receptor. These studies reveal a nuclear function for suppression of innate inflammation and are consistent with the dual function of IL-37 and a role for caspase-1 in limiting inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4456-4461
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Caspase-1
  • IL-37
  • Inflammation
  • Mutation
  • Suppression


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