Intestinal bacteria induce TSLP to promote mutualistic T-cell responses
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is constitutively expressed in the intestine and is known to regulate inflammation in models of colitis. We show that steady-state TSLP expression requires intestinal bacteria and has an important role in limiting the expansion of colonic T helper type 17 (Th17) cells. Inappropriate expansion of the colonic Th17 cells occurred in response to an entirely benign intestinal microbiota, as determined following the colonization of germ-free C57BL/6 or TSLPR-/- mice with the altered Schaedler flora (ASF). TSLP-TSLPR (TSLP receptor) interactions also promoted the expansion of colonic Helios(-)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells, necessary for the control of inappropriate Th17 responses following ASF bacterial colonization. In summary, these data reveal an important role for TSLP-TSLPR signaling in promoting steady-state mutualistic T-cell responses following intestinal bacterial colonization.