Th1, Th2, Th9 and Th17 cells are conventional CD4+ effector T cells identified as secretors of prototypical cytokines IFNγ, IL4, IL9, and IL-17A respectively. Recently, populations of natural Th17 and Th1 cells (nTh17 and nTh1) with innate-like phenotype have been identified in the thymus that are distinct from conventional Th17 and Th1 cells. The absence of the Tec family kinase Interleukin-2 inducible T cell kinase (Itk) results in T cell immunodeficiency in mice and humans. Here we show that Itk negatively regulates the development of nTh1 cells that express IFNγ in a Tbet independent manner, and whose expansion can be enhanced by IL4. Furthermore, we show that robust induction of IL4 responses during Trichinella spiralis infection enhance the presence of nTh1 cells. We conclude T cell receptor signaling via Itk controls the development of natural Th1 cells, which are expanded by the presence of IL4.
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