J Exp Med 2002 Jun;195(11):1433-44
Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
Interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 are thought to play key roles in the pathogenesis of asthma. Although both cytokines use eotaxin to regulate eosinophilia, IL-13 is thought to operate a separate pathway to IL-5 to induce airways hyperreactivity (AHR) in the allergic lung. However, identification of the key pathway(s) used by IL-5 and IL-13 in the disease process is confounded by the failure of anti-IL-5 or anti-IL-13 treatments to completely inhibit the accumulation of eosinophils in lung tissue. By using mice deficient in both IL-5 and eotaxin (IL-5/eotaxin(-/-)) we have abolished tissue eosinophilia and the induction of AHR in the allergic lung. Notably, in mice deficient in IL-5/eotaxin the ability of CD4(+) T helper cell (Th)2 lymphocytes to produce IL-13, a critical regulator of airways smooth muscle constriction and obstruction, was significantly impaired. Moreover, the transfer of eosinophils to IL-5/eotaxin(-/-) mice overcame the intrinsic defect in T cell IL-13 production. Thus, factors produced by eosinophils may either directly or indirectly modulate the production of IL-13 during Th2 cell development. Our data show that IL-5 and eotaxin intrinsically modulate IL-13 production from Th2 cells and that these signaling systems are not necessarily independent effector pathways and may also be integrated to regulate aspects of allergic disease.