Unique functions of the type II interleukin 4 receptor identified in mice lacking the interleukin 13 receptor alpha1 chain

Nat Immunol. 2008 Jan;9(1):25-33. doi: 10.1038/ni1544. Epub 2007 Dec 9.


The interleukin 4 receptor (IL-4R) is a central mediator of T helper type 2 (T(H)2)-mediated disease and associates with either the common gamma-chain to form the type I IL-4R or with the IL-13R alpha1 chain (IL-13Ralpha1) to form the type II IL-4R. Here we used Il13ra1-/- mice to characterize the distinct functions of type I and type II IL-4 receptors in vivo. In contrast to Il4ra-/- mice, which have weak T(H)2 responses, Il13ra1-/- mice had exacerbated T(H)2 responses. Il13ra1-/- mice showed much less mortality after infection with Schistosoma mansoni and much more susceptibility to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. IL-13Ralpha1 was essential for allergen-induced airway hyperreactivity and mucus hypersecretion but not for fibroblast or alternative macrophage activation. Thus, type I and II IL-4 receptors exert distinct effects on immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Fibroblasts / immunology
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit / physiology*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Nippostrongylus / physiology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4, Type II / physiology*
  • Schistosoma mansoni / immunology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / physiology
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / immunology
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / mortality
  • Strongylida Infections / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4, Type II