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Nature. 2002 Dec 19-26;420(6917):825-9.

Helper T cells regulate type-2 innate immunity in vivo.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Medicine and Microbiology, University of California San Francisco, 94143-0654, USA.


Type-2 immunity requires orchestration of innate and adaptive immune responses to protect mucosal sites from pathogens. Dysregulated type-2 responses result in allergy or asthma. T helper 2 (T(H)2) cells elaborate cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-9 and IL-13, which work with toxic mediators of innate immune cells to establish environments that are inhospitable to helminth or arthropod invaders. The importance of T(H)2 cells in coordinating innate immune cells at sites of inflammation is not known. Here we show that polarized type-2 immune responses are initiated independently of adaptive immunity. In the absence of B and T cells, IL-4-expressing eosinophils were recruited to tissues of mice infected with the helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, but eosinophils failed to degranulate. Reconstitution with CD4 T cells promoted accumulation of degranulated IL-4-expressing cells, but only if T cells were stimulated with cognate antigen. Degranulation correlated with tissue destruction, which was attenuated if eosinophils were depleted. Helper T cells confer antigen specificity on eosinophil cytotoxicity, but not cytokine responses, so defining a novel mechanism that focuses tissue injury at sites of immune challenge.

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