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Eur J Immunol. 2000 May;30(5):1364-74.

Cytokine regulation of IL-12 receptor beta2 expression: differential effects on human T and NK cells.

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Clinical Immunology Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The biological activities of IL-12 are mediated through a specific, high-affinity receptor composed of IL-12 receptor(R)beta1 and IL-12Rbeta2 subunits that exist primarily on T and NK cells. Remarkably, the expression of IL-12Rbeta2 on CD4(+) T cells in mouse and humans appears to be differentially regulated by IFN-gamma and IFN-alpha, respectively. Using an antibody specific for the human IL-12Rbeta2 subunit, the effect of IFN-gamma, IFN-alpha, IL-12 and IL-2 on the regulation of IL-12R expression and IL-12 responsiveness of human T and NK cells was assessed. The presence of IFN-alpha or IFN-gamma in cultures enhanced IL-12Rbeta2 expression of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. The enhancing effect of IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma was independent of endogenous IL-12. Furthermore, the clearest effects of IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma on IL-12Rbeta2 expression on T cells were seen by abrograting the inhibition induced by the presence of IL-4 in cultures. In contrast to T cells, IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma had little effect on regulating IL-12Rbeta2 expression on human NK cells. Taken together, these data show that there is differential regulation of IL-12Rbeta2 expression by IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma on human T and NK cells.

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