Interleukin 4 promotes the development of ex-Foxp3 Th2 cells during immunity to intestinal helminths

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Immunity to intestinal helminth infections requires the rapid activation of T helper 2 cells (Th2 cells). However, simultaneous expansion of CD4Foxp3 regulatory T cells (T reg cells) impedes protective responses, resulting in chronic infections. The ratio between T reg and effector T cells can therefore determine the outcome of infection. The redifferentiation of T reg cells into Th cells has been identified in hyperinflammatory diseases. In this study, we asked whether ex-T reg Th2 cells develop and contribute to type-2 immunity. Using multigene reporter and fate-reporter systems, we demonstrate that a significant proportion of Th2 cells derive from Foxp3 cells after infection and airway allergy. Ex-Foxp3 Th2 cells exhibit characteristic Th2 effector functions and provide immunity to Through selective deletion of on Foxp3 cells, we further demonstrate IL-4 is required for the development of ex-Foxp3 Th2 cells. Collectively, our findings indicate that converting T reg cells into Th2 cells could concomitantly enhance Th2 cells and limit T reg cell-mediated suppression.

Journal details

Volume 214
Issue number 6
Pages 1809-1826
Available online
Publication date