Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunol. 1992 Apr 1;148(7):2118-25.

Administration of recombinant IL-4 to humans regulates gene expression, phenotype, and function in circulating monocytes.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


As a multifunctional cytokine that can augment certain T cell responses, IL-4 is being evaluated currently as a possible therapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer patients. In this report, PBMC were isolated from such patients before and after IL-4 therapy and were analyzed for phenotypic and functional alterations. Differential blood counts showed that the relative percentages of lymphocytes and, to a lesser degree, monocytes decreased after treatment with IL-4. However, when phenotypically analyzed by FACS, monocyte numbers generally increased, whereas there was a decrease in lymphocyte numbers. Monocytes taken from patients before therapy and cultured with and without LPS exhibited normal patterns of monokine-specific (IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha) mRNA expression, as well as secretion of peptide. The addition of rIL-4 to these cultures, however, resulted in the down-regulation of both gene expression and peptide release. Although monocytes taken from post-therapy patients also displayed normal patterns of monokine gene expression and cytokine release after stimulation with LPS, they were no longer inhibited by the addition of exogenous rIL-4 in vitro. These data suggest that monocytes become refractory to the inhibitory effects of IL-4 after in vivo exposure to this cytokine. However, when these monocytes were examined for expression of CD14, CD32, and CD64, exogenous IL-4 was observed to decrease markedly the appearance of these markers, regardless of whether the cells were obtained before or after therapy. Furthermore, monocytes from post-therapy patients exhibited reduced production of PGE2 and superoxide anion, compared with cells obtained before therapy. This effect persisted in culture independent of the further addition of exogenous IL-4. These data suggest a dichotomy between the IL-4-dependent mechanisms that regulate monokine production and those that regulate certain other monocyte functions. The exact mechanisms that govern these two pathways are not known. These results have important clinical implications for the use of IL-4 as an immunotherapeutic agent, as well as providing insight into the physiologic role of IL-4.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk