The many lives of IL-9: a question of survival?
Authors listC Wilhelm JE Turner J Van Snick Brigitta Stockinger
Although the cytokine interleukin 9 (IL-9) was discovered decades ago, it remains one of the most enigmatic cytokines identified so far, in particular because its functional activities remain far from clear. Breakthroughs made through the use of IL-9 reporter mice have allowed the identification of cell types that produce IL-9 in vivo and, contrary to expectations based on previous results obtained in vitro, it is not T cells but instead a previously unknown type of innate lymphoid cell, called the 'ILC2 cell', that is the main cell type that expresses IL-9 in vivo. In this perspective, we put forward a hypothesis about the potential biological functions of IL-9 in the immune system and beyond.