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J Immunol. 2001 Jan 15;166(2):1214-22.

IL-4 adenoviral gene therapy reduces inflammation, proinflammatory cytokines, vascularization, and bony destruction in rat adjuvant-induced arthritis.

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  • 1Departments of. Medicine and Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


IL-4 is a cytokine with anti-inflammatory properties on activated macrophages. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory disease, is characterized by a paucity of IL-4 and an abundance of synovial macrophage-derived mediators. Herein, the effect of a single injection of adenovirus-producing rat IL-4 (AxCAIL-4) or a control virus with no inserted gene was compared with the effect of PBS injection into rat ankles. Ankles were injected before arthritis onset or at maximal inflammation. Preventatively, AxCAIL-4 reduced adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA)- and/or AIA/adenoviral-induced ankle inflammation, decreasing articular index scores, ankle circumferences, paw volumes, radiographic scores, mean levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, the number of inflammatory cells, and the number of synovial blood vessels. Therapeutically, AxCAIL-4 also decreased ankle circumferences and paw volumes in comparison with a control virus with no inserted gene and PBS groups. After arthritis onset, mean levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, macrophage inflammatory protein-2, and RANTES were decreased in AxCAIL-4 rat ankle homogenates compared with PBS-treated homogenates. Thus, increased expression of IL-4 via gene therapy administered in a preventative and/or therapeutic manner reduced joint inflammation, synovial cellularity, levels of proinflammatory cytokines, vascularization, and bony destruction in rat AIA, suggesting that a similar treatment in humans may be beneficial.

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