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J Immunol. 1998 Jun 15;160(12):6121-7.

IL-4-dependent regulation of TGF-alpha and TGF-beta1 expression in human eosinophils.

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  • 1Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


TGFs play important roles in wound healing and carcinogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that eosinophils infiltrating into different pathologic processes elaborate TGF-alpha and TGF-beta1. Eosinophils infiltrating hamster cutaneous wounds were found to express TGFs sequentially. In this study, we examined the biologic mediators that may regulate the expression of TGF-alpha and -beta1 by eosinophils. Eosinophils were isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy donors and cultured in the absence or presence of IL-3, IL-4, and IL-5. Cells were analyzed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Supernatants from these cultures were assayed for secreted TGF-alpha and TGF-beta1 using TGF-specific ELISAs. IL-3, IL-4, and IL-5 independently up-regulated TGF-beta1 mRNA and product expression by eosinophils in all donors. Interestingly, TGF-alpha production by eosinophils was up-regulated by IL-3 and IL-5 but was down-regulated by IL-4. Consistent with the ability of IL-4 to regulate eosinophil responses, IL-4 signaling molecules are present in human eosinophils. The observation that IL-4 can differentially regulate the expression of TGF-alpha and TGF-beta1 suggests that IL-4 may serve as a physiologic molecular switch of TGF expression by the infiltrating eosinophils in wound healing and carcinogenesis.

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