Regulation of IL4 gene expression by T cells and therapeutic perspectives

Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Jul;3(7):534-43. doi: 10.1038/nri1128.


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) is crucial for the differentiation of naive T helper (T(H)) cells into the T(H)2 effector cells that promote humoral (antibody) immunity and provide protection against intestinal helminths. IL-4 also has a central role in the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation. Many transcription factors are involved in the regulation of expression of the gene encoding IL-4. Initiation of transcription of the gene encoding IL-4 in naive T(H) cells is regulated by the T(H)2-specific transcription factor GATA3, whereas acute expression of the gene encoding IL-4 in T(H)2 cells is mediated by inducible, ubiquitous transcription factors after antigen encounter. This review focuses on acute activation of the gene encoding IL-4 in T cells and discusses therapeutic perspectives at the transcriptional level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • NFATC Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Transcription Factors / immunology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • NFATC Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-4