TGF-β induces IL-9 production from human Th17 cells

Gaëlle Beriou, Elizabeth M. Bradshaw, Ester Lozano, Cristina M. Costantino, William D. Hastings, Tihamer Orban, Wassim Elyaman, Samia J. Khoury, Vijay K. Kuchroo, Clare Baecher-Allan, David A. Hafler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The secretion of IL-9, initially recognized as a Th2 cytokine, was recently attributed to a novel CD4 T cell subset termed Th9 in the murine system. However, IL-9 can also be secreted by mouse Th17 cells and may mediate aspects of the proinflammatory activities of Th17 cells. Here we report that IL-9 is secreted by human naive CD4 T cells in response to differentiation by Th9 (TGF-β and IL-4) or Th17 polarizing conditions. Yet, these differentiated naive cells did not coexpress IL-17 and IL-9, unless they were repeatedly stimulated under Th17 differentiation-inducing conditions. In contrast to the naive cells, memory CD4 T cells were induced to secrete IL-9 by simply providing TGF-β during stimulation, as neither IL-4 nor proinflammatory cytokines were required. Furthermore, the addition of TGF-β to the Th17-inducing cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-21, IL-23) that induce memory cells to secrete IL-17, resulted in the marked coexpression of IL-9 in IL-17 producing memory cells. The proinflammatory cytokine mediating TGF-β-dependent coexpression of IL-9 and IL-17 was identified to be IL-1β. Moreover, circulating monocytes were potent costimulators of IL-9 production by Th17 cells via their capacity to secrete IL-1β. Finally, to determine whether IL-9/IL-17 coproducing CD4 cells were altered in an inflammatory condition, we examined patients with autoimmune diabetes and demonstrated that these subjects exhibit a higher frequency of memory CD4 cells with the capacity to transition into IL-9+IL-17+ cells. These data demonstrate the presence of IL-17+IL-9+ CD4 cells induced by IL-1β that may play a role in human autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


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