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Int J Cancer. 1994 Nov 1;59(3):440-7.

Growth inhibition of human colorectal-carcinoma cells by interleukin-4 and expression of functional interleukin-4 receptors.

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Department of Cellular Biology, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Epalinges.


The growth-inhibitory effect of interleukin-4 (IL-4) was investigated in a panel of 7 human colorectal-carcinoma cell lines. In 5 cell lines (HT29, WiDr, LS411N, LS513, LS1034) a dose-dependent reduction of proliferation was documented. At 100 U/ml, IL-4 inhibited thymidine incorporation between 45 and 75% and MTT conversion (26 to 41%). The ability of LS513 and WiDr cells to form colonies after IL-4 treatment was reduced by 85 and 62% respectively. LS513 was the most sensitive cell line, with IL-4 inducing half-maximal inhibition at 5 to 6 U/ml. The inhibitory effect of IL-4 was completely neutralized by anti-IL-4 antibodies. Northern-blot analysis revealed the presence of IL-4-receptor (IL-4R) mRNA in all cell lines. The membrane expression of the 130-kDa IL-4R was assessed by FACS, utilizing an anti-IL-4R monoclonal antibody and was confirmed by biotinylated IL-4 binding. Our results attribute an important role for IL-4 as a negative regulator of colorectal-carcinoma cell growth, thus indicating a possible avenue for intervention in this disease.

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