Type 2 inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13, drive the characteristic features of immunity against parasitic worms and allergens. Whether IL-9 serves an essential role in the initiation of host-protective responses is controversial, and the importance of IL-9- versus IL-4-producing CD4⁺ effector T cells in type 2 immunity is incompletely defined. Herein, we generated IL-9-deficient and IL-9-fluorescent reporter mice that demonstrated an essential role for this cytokine in the early type 2 immunity against Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Whereas T helper 9 (Th9) cells and type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) were major sources of infection-induced IL-9 production, the adoptive transfer of Th9 cells, but not Th2 cells, caused rapid worm expulsion, marked basophilia, and increased mast cell numbers in Rag2-deficient hosts. Taken together, our data show a critical and nonredundant role for Th9 cells and IL-9 in host-protective type 2 immunity against parasitic worm infection.
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