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J Immunol. 2002 Jun 1;168(11):5477-82.

Reduced expression of STAT4 and IFN-gamma in macrophages from BALB/c mice.

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Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.


BALB/c mice have been shown to easily induce Th2 type responses in several infection models. In this study, to examine the mechanisms of Th2 dominant responses in BALB/c mice, we assessed several macrophage functions using C3H/HeN, C57BL/6, and BALB/c mouse strains. Peritoneal macrophages from three strains of mice equally produced IL-12 by stimulation with LPS plus IFN-gamma. However, IFN-gamma production in response to IL-12 or IL-12 plus IL-18 was much lower in macrophages from BALB/c mice than other strains. IFN-gamma produced by activated macrophages induced IL-12R mRNA expression in T cells and macrophages themselves depending on their amount of IFN-gamma; namely, macrophages from BALB/c mice induced lower expression of IL-12R. Intracellular levels of STAT4 were much lower in macrophages from BALB/c mice. However, other STATs, such as STAT1 or STAT6, were expressed similarly in the three mouse strains. STAT4 and IFN-gamma production by other cell types such as T cells and B cells were equal in C3H/HeN and BALB/c mice. These results indicate that macrophages from Th2-dominant BALB/c mice have different functional characters compared with other mouse strains; that is, STAT4 expression and IFN-gamma production are reduced, which is one of the causes to shift to Th2-type responses.

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