Taken together, our studies indicate that IL-13 production is more widespread than previously appreciated and that blocking this cytokine may have therapeutic benefits even in settings where traditional IL-4-driven Th2-type responses are not evident. Naive CD4+ “helper” T cells can differentiate into multiple effector subsets, each defined by the transcription factors (TFs) that they employ, the cytokines they secrete, and ultimately, the functions Lapatinib clinical trial they execute. The Th2 subset was among the first to be recognized and is characterized by STAT6 and Gata-3, production of IL-4, its role in combating helminth infections, and its association with inflammatory disorders like
asthma and allergy [1, 2]. Traditionally, Th2 differentiation is thought to be driven by IL-4 and its ability to activate STAT6, a potent inducer of hallmark Th2-type genes, including IL-4, IL-13, c-Maf, and Gata-3. However, despite a dominant role for IL-4 and STAT6 in many settings, Th2 responses can be generated in their absence and other factors are known to promote Th2 differentiation, including
IL-2, IL-25, IL-33, TSLP, Notch, STAT3, STAT5, and IRF4 [1-4]. Because many of these are associated with alternative T-cell subsets, such as Th1 (STAT5) and Th17 (STAT3, IRF4), it is now understood that some of the TFs involved in Th2 differentiation are not subset-specific and that there is a degree of plasticity within the Th2 program. Consistent with this latter point, studies have shown that Th2 cells can be “re-programmed” to exhibit characteristics of other T-cell buy NSC 683864 subsets, like production of IL-9 (Th9) or IFN-γ (Th1), and that IL-4+ memory Th2 cells can produce IL-17 [5-8]. Thus, while originally viewed as a terminal, IL-4-driven fate, current models posit that Th2 cells result from the integration of multiple signals, and that they are adaptable, at times
able to acquire the functions of related subsets. Along with IL-4, Th2 cells are known to produce IL-13 that is located adjacent to the il4 locus on mouse chromosome 11 (human chromosome 5). Due to this genomic Afatinib cost proximity, it is was initially believed that IL-4 and IL-13 are regulated by the same upstream signals and since they share a common receptor (IL-4Rα) and signaling pathway (STAT6), it was also thought that they have analogous functions, an idea bolstered by studies showing that Th2-type inflammation is depressed in mice lacking either cytokine [2, 9]. However, despite the similarities, it is now understood that IL-4 and IL-13 are not always coexpressed, that they can act on different cell types, and that IL-13 can drive IL-4-independent inflammation in various settings [3, 9-13]. Based on these latter findings, IL-13 has become an attractive therapeutic target for Th2-mediated disease, creating a need to better define the source and function of this cytokine.