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J Immunol. 1998 Apr 1;160(7):3453-61.

A critical role for IL-13 in resistance to intestinal nematode infection.

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School of Biological Science, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.


Mice in which either the IL-4 or the IL-13 gene has been disrupted (IL-4 KO and IL-13 KO) were susceptible to infection with the intestinal nematode Trichuris muris, whereas their wild-type littermates were highly resistant and expelled the parasite. IL-4 KO mice showed diminished Th2-type responses with T. muris infection and also failed to produce parasite-specific IgG1 Abs. Although IL-13 KO mice made reduced Th2-type responses early in infection, they were capable of generating strong Th2-type responses at later time points and were unable to regulate the magnitude of their Ab isotype response. These results confirm the importance of IL-4 in resistance to T. muris and provide the first demonstration of an important role for IL-13 in resistance to helminth infection. The IL-13 KO mouse had a separate phenotype to that of the IL-4 KO mouse, suggesting that both IL-4 and IL-13 play important yet different roles in mediating immunity to intestinal helminths.

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