Dual vaccination against IL-4 and IL-13 protects against chronic allergic asthma in mice

Nat Commun. 2021 May 11;12(1):2574. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22834-5.


Allergic asthma is characterized by elevated levels of IgE antibodies, type 2 cytokines such as interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13, airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), mucus hypersecretion and eosinophilia. Approved therapeutic monoclonal antibodies targeting IgE or IL-4/IL-13 reduce asthma symptoms but require costly lifelong administrations. Here, we develop conjugate vaccines against mouse IL-4 and IL-13, and demonstrate their prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy in reducing IgE levels, AHR, eosinophilia and mucus production in mouse models of asthma analyzed up to 15 weeks after initial vaccination. More importantly, we also test similar vaccines specific for human IL-4/IL-13 in mice expressing human IL-4/IL-13 and the related receptor, IL-4Rα, to find efficient neutralization of both cytokines and reduced IgE levels for at least 11 weeks post-vaccination. Our results imply that dual IL-4/IL-13 vaccination may represent a cost-effective, long-term therapeutic strategy for the treatment of allergic asthma as demonstrated in mouse models, although additional studies are warranted to assess its safety and feasibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Bacterial Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Interleukin-13 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Vaccination / methods*
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / immunology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • IL13 protein, human
  • IL4 protein, human
  • Il4 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-13
  • Vaccines, Conjugate
  • CRM197 (non-toxic variant of diphtheria toxin)
  • Interleukin-4