An IL-4/IL-13 dual antagonist reduces lung inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, and IgE production in mice

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Jul;49(1):37-46. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2012-0500OC.


IL-4 and IL-13 comprise promising targets for therapeutic interventions in asthma and other Th2-associated diseases, but agents targeting either IL-4 or IL-13 alone have shown limited efficacy in human clinical studies. Because these cytokines may involve redundant function, dual targeting holds promise for achieving greater efficacy. We describe a bifunctional therapeutic targeting IL-4 and IL-13, developed by a combination of specific binding domains. IL-4-targeted and IL-13-targeted single chain variable fragments were joined in an optimal configuration, using appropriate linker regions on a novel protein scaffold. The bifunctional IL-4/IL-13 antagonist displayed high affinity for both cytokines. It was a potent and efficient neutralizer of both murine IL-4 and murine IL-13 bioactivity in cytokine-responsive Ba/F3 cells, and exhibited a half-life of approximately 4.7 days in mice. In a murine model of ovalbumin-induced ear swelling, the bifunctional molecule blocked both the IL-4/IL-13-dependent early-phase response and the IL-4-dependent late-phase response. In the ovalbumin-induced lung inflammation model, the bifunctional IL-4/IL-13 antagonist reduced the IL-4-dependent rise in serum IgE titers, and reduced IL-13-dependent airway hyperresponsiveness, lung inflammation, mucin gene expression, and serum chitinase responses. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the effective dual blockade of IL-4 and IL-13 with a single agent, which resulted in the modulation of a more extensive range of endpoints than could be achieved by targeting either cytokine alone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / immunology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Binding Sites
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / drug therapy
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Ear / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Interleukin-13 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha2 Subunit / immunology
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha2 Subunit / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Ovalbumin / adverse effects
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia / immunology
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
  • Single-Chain Antibodies / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha2 Subunit
  • Single-Chain Antibodies
  • Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin