Increased interleukin-4 and decreased interferon-γ levels in serum of children with asthma

Cytokine. 2011 Sep;55(3):335-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2011.05.011. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


Background and purpose: Immune and inflammatory responses, mediated by cytokines, play important roles in the pathophysiology of asthma. These responses are associated with over expression of T helper (Th)-2 cytokine, particularly interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5, and decreased expression of Th-1 cytokine, IL-2 and IFN-γ. We hypothesized that there would be an imbalance in the levels of circulating IL-4 and IFN-γ in the asthmatic subjects.

Method: We investigated serum levels of IL-4 and IFN-γ among eighty children (18 steroid-naïve, 30 steroid-treated children with asthma and 32 healthy controls) using commercially available ELISA kits.

Results: Serum level of IL-4 was significantly higher in steroid-naïve group of asthmatic children compared to the healthy control subjects and was lower in steroid-treated group though the level was statistically not significant. In contrast, serum levels of IFN-γ were significantly lower in both steroid-naïve and steroid-treated groups of asthmatic children compared to healthy control subjects.

Conclusion: The results of our study suggest that serum level of IL-4 may be elevated in concert with decreased level of IFN-γ in asthma. Determination of serum levels of IL-4 and IFN-γ may be a useful tool for understanding the disease processes in asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / blood*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / blood*
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / blood*
  • Interleukin-5 / blood
  • Male
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism


  • IL4 protein, human
  • IL5 protein, human
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-5
  • Steroids
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma