We have previously demonstrated that IL-9 induction in human T cells stimulated with PMA and anti-CD3 Ab is mediated by IL-2, as it was blocked by anti-IL-2R Ab. The experiments reported here indicate that anti-IL-2R Ab also inhibited the expression of IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10, thereby raising the possibility that the blockade of IL-9 production by anti-IL-2R mAb could be secondary to the blockade of these cytokines. We found that the inhibition caused by anti-IL-2R Ab on IL-9 production could be reversed by the addition of a combination of IL-4 and IL-10. Moreover, IL-9 production by T cells stimulated with PMA and anti-CD3 Ab was blocked by the addition of anti-IL-4 and anti-IL-10 Abs. Similar results were obtained with T cells cultured on B7-1/Fc gamma RII-transfected fibroblasts in the presence of anti-CD3 Ab. Analysis of cytokine production by different T cell subsets revealed that IL-4, IL-9, and IL-10 were produced only by CD45 Ro+ T cells. Importantly, CD45 Ra+ T cells were capable of producing IL-9 provided that both IL-4 and IL-10 were added to the cultures. The possible relationship between IL-4 production and IL-10 production was clarified by experiments indicating that IL-10 production was inhibited by anti-IL-4 Ab. However, IL-4 was not sufficient to trigger IL-10 production, which required both IL-2 and IL-4. Taken together, our results demonstrate the existence of a cascade of cytokines responsible for IL-9 expression, with IL-2 being required for IL-4 production, a combination of IL-2 and IL-4 for IL-10 production, and a combination of IL-4 and IL-10 for IL-9 production. Kinetics studies of cytokine gene expression in T cells further validated this model.

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