IL-9 is a Th17-derived cytokine that limits pathogenic activity in organ-specific autoimmune disease
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IL-9 is a pleiotropic cytokine with key functions in tolerance and inflammation, and its expression is considered a hallmark of Th2-lineage cells. Here, we report that human and mouse Th17 cells are a significant source of IL-9. The expression of IL-9 by Th17 cells was strictly dependent on the presence of TGF-β and IL-1β, and inhibited by IL-4. IL-9-deficient Th17 cells induced more severe autoimmune gastritis following transfer to nu/nu recipient mice. Th17 cells did not appear to be the target of IL-9 bioactivity as Th17 expansion and differentiation was comparable using IL-9-deficient CD4(+) cells or when IL-9 was neutralized with antibodies in vitro. However, reduced mast cell activity was associated with the increased pathogenicity of IL-9-deficient Th17 cells. Together, these results demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for IL-9 in dampening the pathogenic activities of Th17 cells.
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