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IL-9 signaling affects central nervous system resident cells during inflammatory stimuli

Ding, X;Cao, F;Cui, L;Ciric, B;Zhang, GX;Rostami, A;

Interleukin (IL) 9, a dominant cytokine in Th9 cells, has been proven to play a pathogenic role in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), by augmenting T cell activation and differentiation; however, whether IL-9 signaling affects central nervous system (CNS)-resident cells during CNS autoimmunity remains unknown. In the present study, we found that the IL-9 receptor (IL-9R) was highly expressed in astrocytes, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), oligodendrocytes and microglia cells, and that its expression was significantly upregulated in brain and spinal cord during EAE. In addition, IL-9 increased chemokine expression, including CXCL9, CCL20 and MMP3, in primary astrocytes. Although IL-9 had no effect on the proliferation of microglia cells, it decreased OPC proliferation and differentiation when in combination with other pro-inflammatory cytokines, but not with IFN-. IL-9 plus IFN- promoted OPC proliferation and differentiation. These findings indicate that CNS-restricted IL-9 signaling may be involved in the pathogenesis of MS/EAE, thus providing a potential therapeutic target for future MS/EAE treatment through disruption of CNS cell-specific IL-9 signaling.