Dissociation of production of interleukin-4 and interleukin-5

Immunol Cell Biol. 1996 Jun;74(3):274-7. doi: 10.1038/icb.1996.48.


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-5 are cytokines with important roles in IgE production and eosinophilia. Interleukin-4 is essential for IgE production, and IL-5 is the major factor involved in the production and activation of eosinophils. These two phenomena commonly occur together in parasitic infestation and allergic disease. Both cytokines are produced by T helper 2 (Th2) and Th0 cells but not by Th1 cells, and in a number of experimental systems IL-4 is required for the production of IL-5. This article presents evidence that IL-4 and IL-5 are not always co-ordinately produced. There is evidence for selective production of either IL-4 or IL-5 in response to immune stimulation by different adjuvants. Dissociation of production of these two cytokines has also been reported in several pathological situations. An example is intrinsic or non-atopic asthma, with eosinophilic bronchitis but without elevated IgE production, where there is evidence for excessive production of IL-5 but not IL-4. Different microenvironmental factors may favour production of either IL-4 or IL-5. For example, IL-2 stimulates the production of IL-5 but not IL-4. Therefore the Th2 model does not account for all immune responses involving IL-4 or IL-5. Responses characterized by IL-4 without IL-5, and IL-5 without IL-4, can also occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-4 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-5 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-5 / physiology*


  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4