Memory T cells provide long-lasting protective immunity, and distinct subpopulations of memory T cells drive chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma. Asthma is a chronic allergic inflammatory disease with airway remodeling including fibrotic changes. The immunological mechanisms that induce airway fibrotic changes remain unknown. We found that interleukin-33 (IL-33) enhanced amphiregulin production by the IL-33 receptor, ST2hi memory T helper 2 (Th2) cells. Amphiregulin-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated signaling directly reprogramed eosinophils to an inflammatory state with enhanced production of osteopontin, a key profibrotic immunomodulatory protein. IL-5-producing memory Th2 cells and amphiregulin-producing memory Th2 cells appeared to cooperate to establish lung fibrosis. The analysis of polyps from patients with eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis revealed fibrosis with accumulation of amphiregulin-producing CRTH2hiCD161hiCD45RO+CD4+ Th2 cells and osteopontin-producing eosinophils. Thus, the IL-33-amphiregulin-osteopontin axis directs fibrotic responses in eosinophilic airway inflammation and is a potential target for the treatment of fibrosis induced by chronic allergic disorders.
A crucial player in immune regulation, FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are drawing attention for their heterogeneity and noncanonical functions. Here, we describe a Treg subpopulation that controls hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) quiescence and engraftment. These Tregs highly expressed an HSC marker, CD150, and localized within the HSC niche in the bone marrow (BM). Specific reduction of BM Tregs achieved by conditional deletion of CXCR4 in Tregs increased HSC numbers in the BM. Adenosine generated via the CD39 cell surface ectoenzyme on niche Tregs protected HSCs from oxidative stress and maintained HSC quiescence. In transplantation settings, niche Tregs prevented allogeneic (allo-) HSC rejection through adenosine and facilitated allo-HSC engraftment. Furthermore, transfer of niche Tregs promoted allo-HSC engraftment to a much greater extent than transfer of other Tregs. These results identify a unique niche-associated Treg subset and adenosine as regulators of HSC quiescence, abundance, and engraftment, further highlighting their therapeutic utility.