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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

T helper type-2 cells induce ileal villus atrophy, goblet cell metaplasia, and wasting disease in T cell-deficient mice.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: T helper ( Th) 1 and Th2 cell subsets significantly influence the pathological features of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract in a distinct manner. It is now established that the transfer of CD4(+)CD45RB(Hi) (RB(Hi)) T cells to either severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) or recombinase activation gene 2-deficient (RAG(-/-)) mice results in a severe granulomatous hypertrophic colitis mediated by Th1 cells. We have modified this approach to address the role of Th2 cells. METHODS: RB(Hi) T cells from wild-type (Wt) mice or mice genetically predisposed to Th2 responses (interferon-gamma-defective [IFN-gamma(-/-)]) with or without B cells were transferred to T cell receptor (TCR)-beta and delta-chain-defective (TCR(-/-)) or SCID mice. RESULTS: Transfer of Wt RB(Hi) T cells induced wasting disease with severe colitis in the TCR(-/-) mice. In contrast, IFN-gamma(-/-) RB(Hi) T cells induced severe weight loss and hypoalbuminemia without significant inflammation in the colon. The small intestine of these mice exhibited villus atrophy, a decrease in brush-border enzymes, reduced enterocyte proliferation, and an increased number of goblet cells. The presence of B cells was necessary for these changes, because SCID recipients required cotransfer of B cells, together with IFN-gamma(-/-) RB(Hi) T cells for ileal lesions to develop. Treatment of TCR(-/-) recipients of IFN-gamma(-/-) RB(Hi) T cells with anti-IL-4 mAb abrogated both the wasting disease and the villus atrophy. CONCLUSIONS: Dysregulated Th2 cells cause atrophic changes and goblet cell transformation in the small intestinal epithelium and wasting disease mediated by excess interleukin-4 and B cells.[1]


  1. T helper type-2 cells induce ileal villus atrophy, goblet cell metaplasia, and wasting disease in T cell-deficient mice. Dohi, T., Fujihashi, K., Koga, T., Shirai, Y., Kawamura, Y.I., Ejima, C., Kato, R., Saitoh, K., McGhee, J.R. Gastroenterology (2003) [Pubmed]
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