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Int Immunol. 1997 May;9(5):799-803.

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in IL-4-deficient mice.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in an inflammatory demyelinating disease which usually follows a monophasic course. Autoreactive Th1 CD4+ T cells are responsible for the lesions, whereas autoreactive Th2 CD4+ T cells can, upon adoptive transfer, suppress the disease process. However, the role of IL-4 and Th2 cells in the spontaneous remission of EAE and in the prevention of relapses is not known. We have addressed these issues using IL-4-deficient mice in which the differentiation of Th2 CD4+ T cells is severely compromised. The clinical course of actively induced EAE was compared in IL-4+/+, IL-4+ /- and IL-4-/- mice on the PL/J genetic background. No significant differences were noted between groups for the frequency, severity and duration of EAE, and the frequency of relapses. Our results indicate that IL-4, despite its well-documented regulatory role in EAE, is not necessary for the spontaneous remission of disease or for the prevention of relapses. Therefore, in the absence of IL-4, overlapping or compensatory immunoregulatory mechanisms can restrict an inflammatory response within the central nervous system.

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