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J Immunol. 1999 Feb 1;162(3):1597-602.

Measles virus infection synergizes with IL-4 in IgE class switching.

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Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Asthma and Allergy Center, Baltimore, MD 21224,


Increasing evidence suggests that viral infections are associated with the induction and exacerbation of asthma. One characteristic of human asthma is an increase in the levels of circulating IgE. Previous studies have shown that circulating IgE levels are elevated during the early phase of infection with measles virus (MV). We have shown previously that one mechanism by which viral infections can increase IgE levels is via an induction of IgE class switching through the activation of the antiviral protein kinase (dsRNA-activated protein kinase), leading to the activation of multiple NF-kappaB complexes. Therefore, to determine whether infection with MV can also induce IgE class switching, we infected the human Ramos B cell line with the Edmonston strain of MV. Infecting Ramos cells with MV did not result directly in either the activation of dsRNA-activated protein kinase or IgE class switching. However, a synergistic effect on IgE class switching was observed when Ramos cells were infected with MV before IL-4 treatment. Ab cross-linking of the MV receptor, CD46, mimicked the effects of MV infection in synergizing with IL-4 to induce IgE class switching, suggesting that viral hemagglutinin is involved in this synergistic effect. These data provide the first indication of a potential mechanism for MV-induced IgE up-regulation and suggest a model for a viral-induced exacerbation of IgE-mediated disorders such as asthma.

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