Expression of IL-4 receptor alpha on smooth muscle cells is not necessary for development of experimental allergic asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Aug;126(2):347-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.04.028. Epub 2010 Jun 25.


Background: Airflow in the lungs of patients with allergic asthma is impaired by excessive mucus production and airway smooth muscle contractions. Elevated levels of the cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are associated with this pathology. In vitro studies have suggested that IL-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Ralpha) signaling on smooth muscle cells is critical for airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness.

Objective: To define the contribution of IL-4 and IL-13 to the onset of asthmatic pathology, the role of their key receptor IL-4Ralpha in smooth muscle cells was examined in vivo.

Methods: By using transgenic smooth muscle myosin heavy chain(cre)IL-4Ralpha(-/lox) mice deficient in IL-4Ralpha in smooth muscle cells, in vivo effects of impaired IL-4Ralpha signaling in smooth muscle cells on the outcome of asthmatic disease were investigated for the first time. Allergic asthma was introduced in mice by repeated sensitization with ovalbumin/aluminum hydroxide on days 0, 7, and 14, followed by intranasal allergen challenge on days 21 to 23. Mice were investigated for the presence of airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, allergen-specific antibody production, T(h)2-type cytokine responses, and lung pathology.

Results: Airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, mucus production, T(h)2 cytokine production, and specific antibody responses were unaffected in smooth muscle myosin heavy chain(cre)IL-4Ralpha(-/lox) mice compared with control animals.

Conclusion: The impairment of IL-4Ralpha on smooth muscle cells had no effect on major etiologic markers of allergic asthma. These findings suggest that IL-4Ralpha responsiveness in airway smooth muscle cells during the early phase of allergic asthma is not, as suggested, necessary for the outcome of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Allergens / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / immunology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / pathology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / pathology


  • Allergens
  • Biomarkers
  • Il4ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-13
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Interleukin-4