IL-4 and IL-13 signaling in allergic airway disease

Cytokine. 2015 Sep;75(1):68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2015.05.014. Epub 2015 Jun 9.


Aberrant production of the prototypical type 2 cytokines, interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 has long been associated with the pathogenesis of allergic disorders. Despite tremendous scientific inquiry, the similarities in their structure, and receptor usage have made it difficult to ascertain the distinct role that these two look-alike cytokines play in the onset and perpetuation of allergic inflammation. However, recent discoveries of differences in receptor distribution, utilization/assembly and affinity between IL-4 and IL-13, along with the discovery of unique innate lymphoid 2 cells (ILC2) which preferentially produce IL-13, not IL-4, are beginning to shed light on these mysteries. The purpose of this chapter is to review our current understanding of the distinct roles that IL-4 and IL-13 play in allergic inflammatory states and the utility of their modulation as potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of allergic disorders.

Keywords: Allergy; Asthma; IL-13; IL-4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Respiratory System / immunology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cytokines
  • IL13 protein, human
  • IL4 protein, human
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-4