Control of the production of soluble interleukin-4 receptors: Implications in immunoregulation

Rafael Fernandez-Botran, Paula M. Chilton, Yuhe Ma, Jana L. Windsor, Nancy E. Street

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Soluble cytokine receptors (sCR) are generated in vivo through proteolytic cleavage of the membrane-bound receptors or by direct translation of mRNAs specifically encoding the soluble forms. Despite their widespread presence in biological fluids, the physiological role of endogenous sCR as immunoregulatory molecules is not yet well understood. In vivo, exogenous soluble interleukin-4 receptors (sIL-4R) have been shown to have both agonistic and antagonistic effects on IL-4 responses, depending on the relative concentration ratios of sIL-4R to IL-4. In an effort to elucidate the potential role of endogenous sIL-4R in the regulation of IL-4 responses, the mechanisms controlling the production of sIL-4R have been investigated. Although many cell types are able to constitutively produce low levels, production of sIL-4R is significantly up-regulated in vitro by T cell activation and IL-4. The ability of splenic cells to produce sIL-4R and the serum levels of sIL-4R have consistently been found to be increased during immune responses characterized by T cell activation and IL-4 secretion (Th2 responses). In agreement, clones of Th2, but not Th1, cells were found to significantly up-regulate sIL-4R production following antigenic stimulation. However, the production of sIL-4R by Th2 cells appears to be independent from that of IL-4 and can also be induced by cell contact and/or IL-1-dependent pathways. Taken together, these observations suggest that the production of sIL-4R in vivo is closely associated with the secretion of IL-4, and are consistent with the notion that endogenous sIL-4R are involved in the regulation of IL-4 activity during immune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • CD4 T cell subsets
  • Soluble cytokine receptors
  • Th1
  • Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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