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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1999 Jun;119(2):86-94.

Early interleukin-4: its role in the switch towards a Th2 response and IgE-mediated allergy.

Author information

1
Forschungszentrum Borstel, Germany. hhaas@fz-borstel.de

Abstract

The etiology of IgE-mediated allergies is complex and, thus far, not completely understood. A common feature, however, is the overproduction of IgE-inducing cytokines, e.g. interleukin-4(IL-4), compared to IgE-antagonistic cytokines, such as interferon-gamma or IL-12. IgE-inducing cytokines are produced by T helper type 2 (Th2) cells. The differentiation of naive T cells towards the Th2 phenotype seems to be crucially dependent upon the particular cytokines present in the early stages of an immune response. Concerning the factors driving Th2 differentiation, the so-called 'early IL-4' seems to play an important role, although there is some controversy over the degree of its requirement and its cellular source. We have recently demonstrated that basophils might be such a source, since they rapidly release IL-4 upon antigen-specific or nonantigen-specific stimuli, such as certain lectins. This makes lectins interesting candidates for inducing a Th2 response and IgE-mediated allergy in unsensitized individuals.

PMID:
10394099
DOI:
10.1159/000024182
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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