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J Cell Biochem. 2002;85(3):496-504.

Interleukin-4 regulates connective tissue growth factor expression in human lung fibroblasts.

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The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) have fibrogenic properties and induce extracellular matrix production in a variety of lung diseases. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a matrix signaling molecule stimulated by TGF-beta that in part mediates alpha1(I) collagen mRNA expression. In these studies, the regulation of CTGF expression by IL-4 in human lung fibroblasts was examined. Following 6 h of stimulation with IL-4, basal CTGF mRNA levels were unchanged as assessed by Northern blot analysis. However, IL-4 attenuated the TGF-beta-stimulated induction of CTGF mRNA expression by 50%. This effect was selective because IL-4 did not affect fibronectin or alpha1(I) collagen mRNA expression induced by TGF-beta. Experiments employing the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D suggest that IL-4 did not affect the stability of the CTGF mRNA. Transient transfection assays with 3TP-Lux, a luciferase gene controlled by a TGF-beta inducible promoter, and with a CTGF promoter construct indicate that IL-4 interfered with the TGF-beta-induced transcriptional activation of the CTGF gene.

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