Onchocerca volvulus keratitis (river blindness) is exacerbated in BALB/c IL-4 gene knockout mice

Cell Immunol. Mar-Apr 2002;216(1-2):1-5. doi: 10.1016/s0008-8749(02)00500-2.


To determine the outcome of Onchocerca volvulus keratitis in IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice, animals were immunized subcutaneously and injected into the corneal stroma with soluble O. volvulus antigens. IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice had a deviated cellular response, with decreased serum IgE and IgG1 and elevated IgG2a compared with control BALB/c mice. In marked contrast to control BALB/c, C57BL/6, and IL-4(-/-) C57BL/6 mice, IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice developed severe corneal opacification and neovascularization that was associated with a pronounced neutrophil infiltrate to the corneal stroma. STAT-6(-/-) BALB/c mice had the same phenotype as IL-4(-/-) BALB/c mice, and complement depletion had no effect on the severity of O. volvulus keratitis in these mice. These findings indicate that on a BALB/c background, IL-4 has a critical role in regulating neutrophil recruitment to the cornea and development of O. volvulus keratitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Antigens, Helminth / administration & dosage
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Corneal Neovascularization / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics*
  • Keratitis / blood
  • Keratitis / immunology
  • Keratitis / parasitology*
  • Keratitis / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Onchocerca volvulus* / immunology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / blood
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / immunology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E