Send to

Choose Destination
Crit Rev Immunol. 1997;17(1):1-32.

Functions of IL-4 and control of its expression.

Author information

Department of Experimental Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


IL-4 has been called the "prototypic immunoregulatory cytokine." Like many cytokines, it can affect a variety of target cells in multiple ways. IL-4 has an important role in regulating antibody production, hematopoiesis and inflammation, and the development of effector T-cell responses. It is produced only by a subset of activated hematopoietic cells, including T cells and Fc epsilon R1+ mast cells and basophils. Based on the different tissue distribution and access to distinct target cells, IL-4 derived from T and Fc epsilon R1+ cells may have quite different effects on these immunological processes. In view of this, as well as the clear correlation of aberrant expression with disease, it is of interest to understand the signals that regulate IL-4 expression in a cell-specific manner. Recently, progress has been made in defining the T-cell- and Fc epsilon R1-receptor-mediated signals that stimulate IL-4 gene expression. These studies have demonstrated that there are common and cell-specific signaling pathways that regulate production of this cytokine. In this review, we summarize the activities of IL-4 defined both in vitro and in vivo and compare the signals leading to IL-4 expression in cells of both T- and mast-cell lineage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center