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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Apr;112(4):476-82.

Inhibition of allergic contact dermatitis to DNCB but not to oxazolone in interleukin-4-deficient mice.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Aachen, Germany.


The role of interleukin-4 as a regulator of immune responses in the skin is investigated with regard to the outcome of contact hypersensitivity reaction in interleukin-4-deficient BALB/C mice. In previous studies conflicting results were obtained concerning the role of interleukin-4 in contact hypersensitivity reactions supporting either a proinflammatory or rather an inhibitory function of this cytokine. Interleukin-4 deficient BALB/C mice sensitized to 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene showed after challenge a significant reduction in magnitude and duration of the contact hypersensitivity response in comparison with wild-type mice. This attenuation was accompanied by a significant reduction of edema and cellular infiltrates in the dermis and a lacking induction of IL-10 mRNA expression in skin. Also, adoptive transfer experiments revealed that BALB/C mice failed to exhibit contact hypersensitivity after injection of lymph node cells obtained from sensitized interleukin-4 deficient mice. To examine further the role of the contact allergen used to induce the contact hypersensitivity response, mice were also sensitized and challenged with Oxazolone. Here a similar magnitude and duration of contact hypersensitivity in both the interleukin-4 deficient mice and BALB/C control mice was observed. This indicates that the contact hypersensitivity response to 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene and Oxazolone may partly evolve on different pathways being dependent and independent of interleukin-4. Our results clearly show that the complete loss of endogenous interleukin-4 expression in BALB/C mice is associated with an impaired manifestation of contact hypersensitivity response to 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene, implying an important proinflammatory function of this cytokine.

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