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Blood. 1996 Feb 1;87(3):1022-9.

Interleukin-13 inhibits interleukin-2-induced proliferation and protects chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells from in vitro apoptosis.

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Laboratoire Virus Neurone et Immunité, Faculté de Médecine Paris Sud, France.


Human interleukin-13 (IL-13) acts at different stages of the normal B-cell maturation pathway with a spectrum of biologic activities overlapping those of IL-4. B chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is characterized by the accumulation of slow-dividing and long-lived monoclonal B cells, arrested at the intermediate stage of their differentiation. In vitro, B-CLL cells exhibit a spontaneous apoptosis regulated by different cytokines. In this report, we show that IL-13 (10 to 200 ng/mL) acts directly on monoclonal B-CLL cells from 12 patients. (1) IL-13 enhances CD23 expression and induces soluble CD23 secretion by B-CLL cells but does not exhibit a growth factor activity. (2) IL-13 inhibits IL-2 responsiveness of B-CLL cells, activated either with IL-2 alone or through crosslinking of lgs or ligation of CD40 antigen. (3) IL-13 protects B-CLL cells from in vitro spontaneous apoptosis. The effects of IL-13 on neoplasic B cells were slightly less than those of IL-4 and occurred independently of the presence of IL-4. The present observations show that IL-13 may exhibit a negative regulatory effect on neoplasic B cells in contrast with that observed in normal B cells, and suggest that IL-13 could be an important factor in the pathogenesis of CLL by preventing the death of monoclonal B cells. Moreover, B-CLL may be an interesting model to study the regulation of the expression of IL-13 receptor and/or signal transduction pathways.

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