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

Depletion of interleukin-4 in BALB/c mice with established Leishmania major infections increases the efficacy of antimony therapy and promotes Th1-like responses.

Whereas most inbred mouse strains mount a protective Th1 helper T-cell response following infection with Leishmania major, an ineffective Th2 response develops in BALB/c mice, leading to the development of disseminated, ultimately fatal disease. Interleukin-4 (IL-4) production is required for the initiation of the Th2 response, though little is known about the requirements for the long-term maintenance of this response. In order to investigate the role of the expanding parasite population on the Th2 response, mice infected for 2 weeks with L. major, which exhibited a Th2-like cytokine profile, were treated with a leishmanicidal agent (Pentostam) and/or various doses of anti-IL-4 antibody. Untreated mice, mice treated with Pentostam alone, or mice treated with 2.5 mg of anti-IL-4 antibody given at days 13 and 21 of infection developed progressive disease. However, in 8 of 10 mice treated with this dose of anti-IL-4 antibody plus Pentostam lesion development was arrested and lesions were either controlled or eventually healed. Healing was associated with the production of high levels of gamma interferon by spleen cells, and low levels of immunoglobulin E in serum compared with levels for control animals, indicating that a Th1-like response had developed in mice receiving both treatments. Thus, depletion of IL-4 only in combination with a reduction in the parasite burden allowed the expression of a Th1 response. When the dose of anti-IL-4 antibody was increased to 5 mg per injection, all mice treated with this dose of antibody, with or without Pentostam therapy, healed. However, combined therapy with Pentostam in mice treated with this dose of antibody had an additional protective effect. As expected, a Th1 response developed in mice treated with this dose of anti-IL-4 antibody with or without combined therapy with Pentostam, whereas a Th2 response developed in control mice. Thus, a significant effect on the course of disease is noted when mice with established L. major infections are treated with anti-IL-4 antibody in combination with Pentostam, suggesting that the combined effect of inhibiting IL-4 and reducing the parasite burden has a dramatic effect on the development of resistance to L. major.[1]


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