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Nat Immunol. 2008 Dec;9(12):1347-55. doi: 10.1038/ni.1677. Epub 2008 Nov 9.

IL-4 inhibits TGF-beta-induced Foxp3+ T cells and, together with TGF-beta, generates IL-9+ IL-10+ Foxp3(-) effector T cells.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nat Immunol. 2009 May;10(5):551.


Transcription factor Foxp3 is critical for generating regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells). Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induces Foxp3 and suppressive T(reg) cells from naive T cells, whereas interleukin 6 (IL-6) inhibits the generation of inducible T(reg) cells. Here we show that IL-4 blocked the generation of TGF-beta-induced Foxp3(+) T(reg) cells and instead induced a population of T helper cells that produced IL-9 and IL-10. The IL-9(+)IL-10(+) T cells demonstrated no regulatory properties despite producing abundant IL-10. Adoptive transfer of IL-9(+)IL-10(+) T cells into recombination-activating gene 1-deficient mice induced colitis and peripheral neuritis, the severity of which was aggravated if the IL-9(+)IL-10(+) T cells were transferred with CD45RB(hi) CD4(+) effector T cells. Thus IL-9(+)IL-10(+) T cells lack suppressive function and constitute a distinct population of helper-effector T cells that promote tissue inflammation.

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