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Cell Immunol. 2002 Mar-Apr;216(1-2):1-5.

Onchocerca volvulus keratitis (river blindness) is exacerbated in BALB/c IL-4 gene knockout mice.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


To determine the outcome of Onchocerca volvulus keratitis in IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice, animals were immunized subcutaneously and injected into the corneal stroma with soluble O. volvulus antigens. IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice had a deviated cellular response, with decreased serum IgE and IgG1 and elevated IgG2a compared with control BALB/c mice. In marked contrast to control BALB/c, C57BL/6, and IL-4(-/-) C57BL/6 mice, IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice developed severe corneal opacification and neovascularization that was associated with a pronounced neutrophil infiltrate to the corneal stroma. STAT-6(-/-) BALB/c mice had the same phenotype as IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice, and complement depletion had no effect on the severity of O. volvulus keratitis in these mice. These findings indicate that on a BALB/c background, IL-4 has a critical role in regulating neutrophil recruitment to the cornea and development of O. volvulus keratitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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