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Biochem J. 1997 Jul 1;325 ( Pt 1):147-53.

Responsiveness of human neutrophils to interleukin-4: induction of cytoskeletal rearrangements, de novo protein synthesis and delay of apoptosis.

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  • 1Département de Médecine, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, 2705 Boulevard Laurier, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada G1V 4G2.


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 are cytokines that share many biological activities. We have previously demonstrated that IL-13 affects a number of neutrophil responses, and here we extend our observations to IL-4. We present, for the first time, direct evidence for the presence of functional IL-4 receptors on human neutrophils. We report that IL-4 induces RNA synthesis in a concentration-dependent manner and, based on observations of the induction of morphological cell shape changes and spreading onto glass, we demonstrate that IL-4 activates neutrophil cytoskeletal rearrangements. We further show that IL-4 is a potent activator of de novo protein synthesis in neutrophils, and we identify by microsequencing one of these proteins as the cytoskeletal protein actin. We were also able to demonstrate for the first time that actin is cleaved into at least two fragments of approximately 30 kDa (pI 5.4) and approximately 25 kDa (pI 5.0) in neutrophils. Finally, we report that IL-4 delays neutrophil apoptosis, as assessed by morphological observations from cytocentrifuge preparations, as well as by measurement of differences in staining by flow cytometry with both propidium iodide and Hoechst reagent. Taken together, we conclude that IL-4 is a more potent neutrophil agonist than previously believed. We discuss the possibility that the induction of the de novo synthesis of actin by IL-4 is related to the mechanism by which this cytokine delays apoptosis; in addition, the cleavage of this protein is likely to contribute to the apoptotic process.

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