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Mol Immunol. 2006 Apr;43(11):1799-807. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Blockade of interleukin-13-mediated cell activation by a novel inhibitory antibody to human IL-13 receptor alpha1.

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Institute of Biochemistry I, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena Medical School, Nonnenplan 2, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Interleukin-13 (IL-13) is a cytokine with a crucial role in the development of allergic asthma. The IL-13 receptor shares the IL-4Ralpha subunit with the IL-4R system, but contains as a specific component the IL-13Ralpha1 chain. Blocking signal release by IL-13 without affecting IL-4 function is a potentially interesting therapeutical option for the treatment of asthma. Employing genetic immunization, we generated a set of novel monoclonal antibodies to the IL-13Ralpha1 receptor that proved very specific and efficient inhibitors of human IL-13 activity. Receptor binding antibodies were identified by their specific reactivity with both human monocytes and a murine pro-B cell line overexpressing human IL-13Ralpha1 by flow cytometry and cell ELISA. A luciferase reporter cell system based on STAT6-mediated promoter activation in murine Ba/F3 cells was employed to screen the antibodies for IL-13 antagonistic properties. Inhibitory antibody effects were quantified by interference with IL-13-dependent proliferation of TF-1 cells. The capability of blocking IL-13-driven responses of primary, inflammation-relevant cells was tested by Western blot analysis of STAT6 tyrosine phosphorylation and expression of 15-lipoxygenase in monocytes from fresh blood. The most potent inhibitory antibody identified, GM1E7, inhibited IL-13-driven gene activation and cell proliferation in immune cell lines with IC(50) values in the low nanomolar range. Both short-term (STAT6 activation) and long-term (15-LO induction) responses of primary human blood cells to IL-13 were almost entirely blocked, whereas IL-4 effects remained virtually unaffected. GM1E7 is superior to available agents interfering with IL-13 activity in terms of specificity and efficiency and offers potential novel therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of allergic asthma.

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