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Immunity. 1996 Apr;4(4):397-405.

Hyperproliferation and dysregulation of IL-4 expression in NF-ATp-deficient mice.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


NF-ATp is a member of a family of genes that encodes the cytoplasmic component of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT). In this study, we show that mice with a null mutation in the NF-ATp gene have splenomegaly with hyperproliferation of both B and T cells. They also display early defects in the transcription of multiple genes encoding cytokines and cell surface receptors, including CD40L and FasL. A striking defect in early IL-4 production was observed after ligation of the TCR complex by treatment with anti-CD3 in vivo. The transcription of other cytokines including IL-13, GM-CSF, and TNF alpha was also affected, though to a lesser degree. Interestingly, the cytokines IL-2 and IFN gamma were minimally affected. Despite this early defect in IL-4 transcription, Th2 development was actually enhanced at later timepoints as evidenced by increased IL-4 production and IgE levels in situations that favor the formation of Th2 cells both in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that NF-ATp may be involved in cell growth, and that it is important for the balanced transcription of the IL-4 gene during the course of an immune response.

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