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J Immunol. 2011 Nov 1;187(9):4873-80. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1004159. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

IL-13 receptor α1 differentially regulates aeroallergen-induced lung responses.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


IL-13 and IL-4 are hallmark cytokines of Th2-associated diseases including asthma. Recent studies revealed that IL-13Rα1 regulates asthma pathogenesis by mediating both IL-4- and IL-13-mediated responses. Nonetheless, the relative contribution of each cytokine in response to aeroallergen challenge and the degree of functional dichotomy between IL-4 and IL-13 in asthma remains unclear. Consistent with prior publications, we demonstrate that IL-13Rα1 regulates aeroallergen-induced airway resistance and mucus production but not IgE and Th2 cytokine production. We demonstrate that aeroallergen-induced eosinophil recruitment and chemokine production were largely dependent on IL-13Rα1 after Aspergillus but not house dust mite (HDM) challenges. Notably, Aspergillus-challenged mice displayed increased IL-13Rα1-dependent accumulation of dendritic cell subsets into lung-draining lymph nodes in comparison with HDM-challenged mice. Comparison of IL-4 and IL-13 levels in the different experimental models revealed increased IL-4/IL-13 ratios after HDM challenge, likely explaining the IL-13Rα1-independent eosinophilia and chemokine production. Consistently, eosinophil adoptive transfer experiments revealed near ablation of lung eosinophilia in response to Aspergillus in Il13ra1(-/-) mice, suggesting that Aspergillus-induced lung eosinophil recruitment is regulated by IL-13-induced chemokine production rather than altered IL-13 signaling in eosinophils. Furthermore, the near complete protection observed in Il13ra1(-/-) mice in response to Aspergillus challenge was dependent on mucosal sensitization, as alum/Aspergillus-sensitized mice that were rechallenged with Aspergillus developed IL-13Rα1-independent eosinophilia although other asthma parameters remained IL-13Rα1 dependent. These results establish that IL-13Rα1 is required for aeroallergen-induced airway resistance and that allergen-induced chemokine production and consequent eosinophilia is dictated by the balance between IL-4 and IL-13 production in situ.

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