The Journal of experimental medicine

The absence of interleukin 9 does not affect the development of allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation nor airway hyperreactivity.

PMID 11781365


Interleukin (IL)-9 is a pleiotropic cytokine secreted by T helper (Th)2 cells and has been proposed as a candidate gene for asthma and allergy. We have used mice genetically deficient in IL-9 to determine the role of this cytokine in the pathophysiologic features of the allergic pulmonary response-airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and eosinophilia. We have demonstrated that IL-9 is not required for the development of a robust Th2 response to allergen in sensitized mice. IL-9 knockout mice developed a similar degree of eosinophilic inflammation and AHR to their wild-type littermates. Goblet cell hyperplasia and immunoglobulin (Ig) E production were also unaffected by the lack of IL-9. Moreover, levels of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 were comparable between wild-type and knockout mice. These findings indicate that IL-9 is not obligatory for the development of eosinophilia and AHR, and imply that other Th2 cytokines can act in a compensatory fashion.