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J Immunol. 2002 Feb 1;168(3):1428-34.

Aspirin and salicylates inhibit the IL-4- and IL-13-induced activation of STAT6.

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Unidad de Investigacion, Hospital San Pedro de Alcantara, Avenida Millan Astray s/n, 10003 Caceres, Spain.


Allergic diseases, including asthma, represent a major threat to human health. Over the three last decades, their incidence has risen in western countries. Aspirin treatment has been shown to improve allergic diseases, especially asthma, and the decreased use of aspirin has been hypothesized to contribute to the increase in childhood asthma. Because salicylate compounds suppress a number of enzymatic activities, and signaling through IL-4R participates in the development of allergic responses, we tested the effect of salicylates on IL-4 signal transduction. We found that treatment of cell lines and primary cells with aspirin and salicylates, but not acetaminophen, inhibited the activation of STAT6 by IL-4 and IL-13. This effect correlated with the inhibition of IL-4-induced CD23 expression. Although salicylates inhibited the in vivo activation of Janus kinases, their kinase activity was not affected in vitro by salicylates, suggesting that other kinases were involved in IL-4-induced STAT6 activation. Furthermore, we found that an Src kinase was involved in STAT6 activation because 1) Src kinase activity was induced by IL-4, 2) Src kinase activity, but not Janus kinase, was inhibited by salicylates in vitro, 3) cells expressing viral Src had constitutive STAT6 phosphorylation, and 4) cells lacking Src showed low STAT6 phosphorylation in response to IL-4. Because STAT6 activation by IL-4 and IL-13 participates in the development of allergic diseases, our results provide a mechanism to explain the beneficial effects of aspirin and salicylate treatment of these diseases.

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