CD4(+) T-helper cells regulate immunity and inflammation through the acquisition of potential to secrete specific cytokines. The acquisition of cytokine-secreting potential, in a process termed T-helper cell differentiation, is a response to multiple environmental signals including the cytokine milieu. The most recently defined subset of T-helper cells are termed Th9 and are identified by the potent production of interleukin-9 (IL-9). Given the pleiotropic functions of IL-9, Th9 cells might be involved in pathogen immunity and immune-mediated disease. In this review, I focus on recent developments in understanding the signals that promote Th9 differentiation, the transcription factors that regulate IL-9 expression, and finally the potential roles for Th9 cells in immunity in vivo.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.