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J Exp Med. 2004 Oct 4;200(7):857-70.

Basophils initiate IL-4 production during a memory T-dependent response.

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Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA.


Experiments were performed to characterize and identify the cellular sources of the secondary interleukin (IL)-4 response to a T cell-dependent antigen. Mice were primed by immunization with goat anti-mouse immunoglobulin (Ig)D antibody (GaMD), which stimulates naive CD4+ T cells to secrete IL-4 in 3-4 d. When challenged with goat serum 14 d after immunization, GaMD-primed mice generated an IL-4 response that exceeded the primary response by approximately 100-fold, started in <2 h, and lasted for 4 d. Studies with 4get mice, in which cells with an accessible Il4 gene express a green fluorescent protein (GFP), revealed CD4+ memory T cells, natural killer T cells, basophils, mast cells, and eosinophils as possible rapid producers of IL-4. GFP(+)CD4+ T cells and basophils expanded more in the spleen than the other cell types during the primary response to GaMD. Quantitation of in vivo IL-4 production by the in vivo cytokine capture assay after individual cell types were selectively stimulated or deleted demonstrated that basophils and memory CD4+ T cells account for most of the secondary IL-4 response, with basophils initiating that response through IgE/FcepsilonRI-mediated signaling but secreting IL-4 for <4 h and memory T cells secreting IL-4 within 4 h and continuing to secrete this cytokine for 4 d.

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