Interleukin 4 mediates autocrine growth of helper T cells after antigenic stimulation

R. Fernandez-Botran, V. M. Sanders, K. G. Oliver, Y. W. Chen, P. H. Krammer, J. W. Uhr, E. S. Vitetta

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101 Scopus citations


The role of interleukin 4 (IL-4) (previously called B-cell stimulatory factor 1) in the response of T helper (T(H)) cells to antigen presented by antigen-specific B cells or splenic adherent cells was investigated. Antigenic stimulation of either a keyhole-limpet-hemocyanin-specific T(H)-cell line or two keyhole-limpet-hemocyanin-specific T-cell clones resulted in the secretion of IL-4 but not interleukin 2 (IL-2). The secretion of IL-4 was first detected in the culture supernatant 6-8 hr after antigenic stimulation. Induction of IL-4 secretion was antigen specific and major histocompatibility complex restricted. Antigenic stimulation also resulted in increased responsiveness of the T(H) cells to exogenously added or endogenously produced IL-4. The antigen-induced proliferation of the T(H) cells could be inhibited by an anti-IL-4 antibody but not by an anti-IL-2-receptor antibody. These results suggest that IL-4 mediates the proliferation of some T(H) cells by an antigen-induced autocrine mechanism. Taken together with past results, these data indicate that, during T-cell-B-cell interactions involving some soluble protein antigens, IL-4 and not IL-2 is the critical lymphokine for activating resting B cells and inducing proliferation of the T(H) cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9689-9693
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1986

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