PPAR-γ promotes type 2 immune responses in allergy and nematode infection

Sci Immunol. 2017 Mar 10;2(9):eaal5196. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aal5196.


A hallmark of immunity to worm infections and many allergies is a strong type 2 immune response. This is characterized by the production of cytokines interleukin-5 (IL-5) and IL-13 by adaptive T helper 2 (TH2) cells and/or type 2 innate lymphoid cells. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) is typically regarded as an anti-inflammatory factor. We report that TH2 cells express high levels of PPAR-γ in response to the allergen house dust mite and after infection with the parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus Mice lacking PPAR-γ in T cells failed to effectively differentiate into IL-5- and IL-13-secreting cells and, hence, did not develop TH2 cell-associated pathologies, including goblet cell metaplasia and eosinophilia, in response to allergen challenge. Furthermore, these mice could not mount protective immune responses to nematode infection. In addition, mice lacking PPAR-γ in T cells had greatly reduced frequencies of TH2 cells in visceral adipose tissue. Mechanistically, PPAR-γ appeared to promote the expression of the IL-33 receptor on the surface of TH2 cells. These results pinpoint PPAR-γ as a factor that drives type 2 responses in allergy, worm infection, and visceral adipose tissue.