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Immunology. 2003 Aug;109(4):527-35.

Evidence for post-transcriptional regulation of interleukin-5 by dexamethasone.

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Department of Thoracic Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, London, UK.


Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is a T helper type 2 cytokine, which is implicated in the pathogenesis of eosinophilic diseases such as asthma. Both peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and primary human T cells display similar patterns of IL-5 expression when stimulated with both phorbol-12-myristate 13-acetate and phytohaemagglutinin. The expression of IL-5 stimulated by these agents was shown to require de novo transcription and translation. However, although dexamethasone was a potent inhibitor of both IL-5 release and messenger RNA accumulation from PBMC and T cells, dexamethasone had no effect on the luciferase activity of a reporter construct under the control of an IL-5 promoter region transiently transfected into primary human T cells. Furthermore, dexamethasone appeared to decrease the stability of IL-5 messenger RNA and this effect was dependent upon de novo transcription. Taken together, the results presented here suggest that, whilst transcriptional processes predominantly regulate IL-5 release, the mechanism by which dexamethasone inhibits IL-5 is post-transcriptional.

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