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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998 Feb;86(2):209-18.

Administration of IL-4 prevents autoimmune diabetes but enhances pancreatic insulitis in NOD mice.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Kobe University School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 650, Japan.


The present study demonstrated that the administration of recombinant interleukin-4 (rIL-4) prevented overt diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice whose T cells produced relatively low amounts of IL-4. However, massive insulitis was observed in rIL-4-treated NOD mice. The flow cytometric analysis of islet-infiltrating T cells revealed that the number of CD45RBlowCD4+ T cells was significantly increased by in vivo administration of rIL-4. By measuring the cytokine production of splenic T cells after stimulation, it was shown that CD45RBlowCD4+ T cells predominantly produced IL-4 and IL-10 but produced less IL-2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). A semiquantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay revealed a higher expression of IL-4 and IL-10 mRNA and an apparent decrease in IFN-gamma mRNA in the islets of NOD mice which were administered rIL-4. These results suggested that autoreactive CD45RBlowCD4+ T helper 2 (Th2)-like cells which developed following rIL-4 administration were predominant in the infiltrate of the islets, and overt diabetes was prevented. On the other hand, when splenocytes from rIL-4-treated NOD mice were transferred to irradiated NOD recipients, along with splenocytes from diabetic NOD mice, all of the recipient mice became diabetic within 8 weeks after transfer. Considered together, a supplement of rIL-4 administered to NOD mice may protect against autoimmune diabetes by facilitating the development of Th2-like autoreactive T cells in the islets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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