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J Immunol. 2003 Feb 15;170(4):2037-45.

IL-13 is sufficient for respiratory syncytial virus G glycoprotein-induced eosinophilia after respiratory syncytial virus challenge.

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  • 1Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 40 Convent Drive MSC 3017, Building 40, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Although well studied in settings of helminth infection and allergen sensitization, the combined contributions of IL-4 and IL-13 and their signaling pathways in models of viral pathogenesis have not been reported. Using a murine model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, we evaluated the contribution of IL-13, alone and in conjunction with IL-4, during immunization with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing RSV G glycoprotein (vvGs) or with formalin-inactivated RSV (FI-RSV). We showed that both IL-4 and IL-13 activity must be inhibited to modulate G-specific responses resulting in severe RSV-induced disease. Inhibition of IL-4 or IL-13 activity alone had minimal impact on disease in vvGs-immunized mice. However, treatment of IL-4-deficient mice with IL-13Ra during vvGs immunization reduced IL-5, IL-13, and eotaxin production and pulmonary eosinophilia after RSV challenge. In contrast, FI-RSV-induced immune responses were diminished when either IL-4 or IL-13 activity was blocked. After RSV challenge, these type 2 T cell responses were also diminished in vvGs-primed IL-4Ralpha-deficient mice. Our data suggest that secreted vvGs uses mechanisms requiring signaling through the IL-4Ralpha-chain by either IL-4 or IL-13 for induction of eosinophilia and is the first description of the relative contributions of IL-4, IL-13, and their receptors in viral pathogenesis.

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