Amphiregulin, a TH2 Cytokine Enhancing Resistance to Nematodes

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Science  15 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5806, pp. 1746
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133715

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Although type 2 immune responses contribute to allergy and asthma, these responses are essential for clearing intestinal helminth infestations by mechanisms that include increased epithelial shedding. We show that T helper 2 cells (TH2), but not other T cell subsets, express amphiregulin, a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family. EGF receptor ligands directly induce epithelial cell proliferation, and lack of amphiregulin delayed expulsion of the nematode Trichuris muris. This newly recognized link between TH2 cells and epithelial proliferation should help in planning therapeutic interventions for helminth infections and other diseases that involve both cell proliferation and allergy, such as asthma.

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