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J Immunol. 1990 Mar 15;144(6):2211-5.

IL-4 inhibits IL-2 receptor expression and IL-2-dependent proliferation of human T cells.

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  • 1Cytokine Biology Laboratory, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0128.


Recent studies have shown that IL-4 can affect lymphocyte responses to IL-2. To evaluate the effects of IL-4 on T cell responses to physiologically relevant stimuli, we studied normal human T cells cultured with a low concentration of anti-CD3 mAb and IL-2 in the presence and absence of added IL-4. The addition of IL-4 to cultures of T cells stimulated with anti-CD3 mAb and IL-2 reduced the proliferative response by 49 to 59%. The inhibitory effect was observed in 3-, 5-, and 7-day cultures. Inhibition was dose-dependent with maximal inhibition at concentrations greater than or equal to 5 to 10 U/ml IL-4. IL-4-mediated inhibition occurred early during the T cell response, inasmuch as addition of IL-4 after stimulation for 24 h did not result in significant inhibition. Phenotypic analyses of cells cultured in the presence of anti-CD3 mAb, IL-2, and IL-4 suggested that the mechanism of regulation by IL-4 involves the inhibition of IL-2R expression. The proportion of both CD4+ and CD8+ cells that expressed IL-2R in response to IL-2 was diminished in the presence of IL-4, although HLA-DR levels were unaffected. Soluble IL-2R was also reduced in supernatants of cultures stimulated with anti-CD3 mAb, IL-2, and IL-4 as compared to cultures stimulated with anti-CD3 mAb and IL-2. These findings indicate that when normal human T cells are stimulated in vitro in a manner that approximates a physiologic interaction with Ag in vivo, rIL-4 provides a potent inhibitory signal to IL-2 responsive cells that is likely mediated by IL-4-induced inhibition of IL-2R expression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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