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Eur J Immunol. 2002 Oct;32(10):2944-53.

IL-4-deficient mice develop less acute but more chronic relapsing collagen-induced arthritis.

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Section for Medical Inflammation Research, I11 BMC, Lund University, SE-221 84 Lund, Sweden.


Rheumatoid arthritis as well as collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is thought to involve T cell autoimmunity of the Th1 type and the Th2 cytokine IL-4 has been proposed to play a suppressive role. To exclude a possible skewing role of the mycobacteria used in the complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) we induced CIA with type II collagen (CII) in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA). Our results show that IL-4 deficiency leads to a lesser susceptibility to arthritis and lower B and T cell responses if induced with CII/IFA but not if induced with CII/CFA. In addition, IL-4-deficient mice were less susceptible to arthritis induced with monoclonal anti-CII antibodies. However, mice immunized with CII/IFA later developed a chronic relapsing disease, which was promoted by IL-4 deficiency. We conclude that IL-4 plays different roles depending on the type of adjuvant used and the phase (acute or chronic) of the clinical disease.

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