The production of soluble interleukin 4 receptors is preferentially regulated by the murine Th2 cell subset

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In order to understand how the endogenous production of soluble IL-4 receptors (sIL-4r) is regulated, the authors tested prototypic clones of Th1 and Th2 murine CD4+ T cell subsets for their ability to regulate their expression of sIL-4r. Results showed that although both types of clones produced low levels of sIL-4r under resting conditions, only the Th2 clones upregulated sIL-4r expression following antigenic stimulation. Inhibition of endogenous IL-4 with a neutralizing anti-IL-4 mAb had only a minor (~ 20%) inhibitory effect on sIL-4r production by the Th2 cells, and addition of rIL-4 to Th1 cells resulted only in a modest two-fold increase in sIL-4r levels, suggesting that IL-4 is not the only factor that regulates sIL-4r production and that the ability of Th2 clones to upregulate sIL-4r expression can be relatively independent of IL-4. Indeed, the production of sIL-4r by Th2 cells was found to be regulated by cell contact and/or IL-1-mediated signals. Transcripts for both sIL-4r and mIL-4r were detected by RT-PCR on both resting and activated Th1 and Th2 cells, with the relative levels of expression being moderately higher in the Th2 clones. Moreover, the expression of sIL-4r-specific transcripts appeared to increase to a greater extent than those of mIL-4r after activation of Th2 cells with APCs, both in the presence and absence of antigen. Taken together, these results predict that increased sIL-4r production in vivo might be preferentially associated with Th2-type responses and indicate that even though the production of IL-4 and sIL-4r is mediated by the same cells (i.e. Th2 cells), the synthesis of sIL-4r can be regulated independently from that of IL-4 through alternative signals such as cell contact and/or IL-1. These properties may allow for changing ratios of sIL-4r to IL-4 and sIL-4r to mIL-4r during different phases of an immune response and are consistent with a regulatory role for sIL-4r on IL-4 activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-177
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • CD4 T cell subsets
  • IL-4
  • Immunoregulation
  • Soluble interleukin 4 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology


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