Interleukin-18 plays a role in both the alum-induced T helper 2 response and the T helper 1 response induced by alum-adsorbed interleukin-12

Immunology. 2003 Feb;108(2):137-43. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.2003.01581.x.


Previous studies have shown that the antigen-specific T helper 2 (Th2) response induced by alum adjuvants is interleukin (IL)-4 independent. As a role for IL-18 in Th2 induction has recently been described, in addition to its role in enhancing Th1 responses, we have studied the Th2 response induced by ovalbumin (OVA) adsorbed to alum in wild-type and IL-18-deficient mice. Our results indicate that while endogenous IL-18 facilitates alum-induced IL-4 production, OVA-specific immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgE production remain unaffected. Furthermore, antigen-specific Th1 responses induced with alum/IL-12-adsorbed OVA were demonstrated to be highly IL-18 dependent. Despite these observations, injection of BALB/c mice with exogenous IL-18 adsorbed to alum/OVA did not alter IL-4 or interferon-gamma production by T cells and had little effect on the relative production of IgG1/IgG2a antibody subclasses compared with alum/OVA inoculated mice. However, the previously described synergism between IL-12 and IL-18 in Th1 induction was evident as the Th1-promoting activity of alum/IL-12 against adsorbed OVA was greatly augmented by the coadministration of IL-18. These results indicate that while alum-induced IL-18 can facilitate Th2 induction, the addition of exogenous IL-18 cannot further enhance the alum-induced Th2 response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aluminum Hydroxide / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-18 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin-18
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Ovalbumin