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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interleukin-4 can be a key positive regulator of inflammatory arthritis.

OBJECTIVE: Development of arthritis in the K/BxN mouse model depends on the induction of high titers of antibodies against the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate isomerase ( GPI), promoted by CD4(+) T cells expressing a GPI-specific transgenic T cell receptor (TCR). This study was undertaken to determine whether this strong autoantibody response depends on T cell differentiation to the Th1 or Th2 phenotype. METHODS: The roles of Th cell-biasing cytokines were investigated by introducing the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-12-specific subunit p35 (IL-12p35)-knockout mutations into the K/BxN model and evaluating the impact of these deficiencies on disease. The IL-4-expressing cell types in K/BxN mice were revealed by crossing in a knockin alteration, which resulted in green fluorescent protein expression controlled by endogenous IL-4 gene-regulatory elements. Transfer experiments permitted the identification of the IL-4-producing cell type required for arthritis, and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction allowed for determination of the cytokine profile of K/BxN T cells. RESULTS: While IL-12p35 appeared dispensable for the development of arthritis, IL-4 was crucial for full development of disease. The GPI-reactive TCR of standard K/BxN mice induced the transcriptional activation of the IL-4 locus in CD4(+) T cells and eosinophils, and CD4(+) T cells were the obligatory source of IL-4 for disease. However, the cytokine profile of K/BxN T cells revealed that K/BxN arthritis is not a "pure" Th2 disease. CONCLUSION: The K/BxN model, although not a classic Th2 disease, depends critically on IL-4. The potential of IL-4 to promote inflammatory arthritis should be considered when proposing therapies for rheumatoid arthritis aimed at biasing T cells toward IL-4 production.[1]


  1. Interleukin-4 can be a key positive regulator of inflammatory arthritis. Ohmura, K., Nguyen, L.T., Locksley, R.M., Mathis, D., Benoist, C. Arthritis Rheum. (2005) [Pubmed]
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