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J Immunol. 2000 Feb 15;164(4):1734-40.

IL-4 suppression of in vivo T cell activation and antibody production.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Immunology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA.


Injection of mice with a foreign anti-IgD Ab stimulates B and T cell activation that results in large cytokine and Ab responses. Because most anti-IgD-activated B cells die before they can be stimulated by activated T cells, and because IL-4 prolongs the survival of B cells cultured with anti-Ig, we hypothesized that treatment with IL-4 at the time of anti-IgD Ab injection would decrease B cell death and enhance anti-IgD-induced Ab responses. Instead, IL-4 treatment before or along with anti-IgD Ab suppressed IgE and IgG1 responses, whereas IL-4 injected after anti-IgD enhanced IgE responses. The suppressive effect of early IL-4 treatment on the Ab response to anti-IgD was associated with a rapid, short-lived increase in IFN-gamma gene expression but decreased CD4+ T cell activation and decreased or delayed T cell production of other cytokines. We examined the possibilities that IL-4 stimulation of IFN-gamma production, suppression of IL-1 or IL-2 production, or induction of TNF-alpha or Fas-mediated apoptosis could account for IL-4's suppressive effect. The suppressive effect of IL-4 was not reversed by IL-1, IL-2, or anti-TNF-alpha or anti-IFN-gamma mAb treatment, or mimicked by treatment with anti-IL-2Ralpha (CD25) and anti-IL-2Rbeta (CD122) mAbs. Early IL-4 treatment failed to inhibit anti-IgD-induced Ab production in Fas-defective lpr mice; however, the poor responsiveness of lpr mice to anti-IgD made this result difficult to interpret. These observations indicate that exposure to IL-4, while T cells are first being activated by Ag presentation, can inhibit T cells activation or promote deletion of responding CD4+ T cells.

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