Allergic inflammation is mediated by Th2 cell-derived cytokines, including IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, and down-regulated by IFN-γ and IL-12. Tyk2 is a member of the Janus family of protein tyrosine kinases and is activated by a variety of cytokines: IFN-αβ, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, and IL-13. In this study, we investigated the role of Tyk2 in the regulation of Ag-induced Th cell differentiation and Ag-induced allergic inflammation in the airways using Tyk2-deficient (Tyk2-/-) mice. When splenocytes were stimulated with antigenic peptide, IL-12-mediated Th1 cell differentiation was decreased, but IL-4-mediated Th2 cell differentiation was increased in Tyk2-/- mice. In vivo, Ag-specific IgE and IgG1 production was increased, but Ag-specific IgG2a production was decreased in Tyk2-/- mice as compared with those in control mice. In addition, Ag-induced eosinophil and CD4+ T cell recruitment, as well as the production of Th2 cytokines in the airways, was increased in Tyk2-/- mice. Adoptive transfer experiments revealed that CD4+ T cells were responsible for the enhanced Ag-induced eosinophil recruitment in Tyk2-/- mice. In contrast, although the level of IL-13 was increased in the airways of Tyk2-/- mice after Ag inhalation, the number of goblet cells, as well as Muc5ac mRNA expression, was decreased in Tyk2-/- mice. Together, these results indicate that Tyk2 plays a bilateral role in the regulation of allergic inflammation in the airways: Tyk2 plays a role in the down-regulation of Th2 cell-mediated Ab production and eosinophil recruitment in the airways by regulating Th1/Th2 balance toward Th1-type, while Tyk2 is necessary for the induction of IL-13-mediated goblet cell hyperplasia in the airways.
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