The role of interleukin-4 in the induction phase of allogeneic neonatal tolerance

Transplantation. 1996 Dec 27;62(12):1847-54. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199612270-00029.


We previously reported that prolonged graft survival in neonatally tolerant mice was associated with enhanced Th2/Th1 cytokines. To determine whether Th2 CD4 cells function in tolerance, we examined whether we could prevent tolerance by blocking Th2 CD4 maturation, using anti-interleukin (IL)-4 monoclonal antibody treatment during neonatal antigen exposure. Anti-IL-4 treatment restored the ability BALB/c of mice to reject A/J skin grafts and blocked the induction of tolerance through multiple mechanisms. Anti-IL-4 treatment blocked the development of donor microchimerism and recovered the ability of mice to proliferate and to generate appropriate delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against A/J in a dose-dependent manner. Low-dose anti-IL-4 recovered DTH responses and interferon (IFN)-gamma production, but failed to completely prevent IL-4 production or to recover the CTL activity. No A/J-reactive IFN-gamma-producing CD8 cells were detected in these mice. In contrast, mice treated with higher doses of anti-IL-4 generated normal CTL responses against A/J, and contained A/J-reactive IFN-gamma-producing CD8 cells. The recovery of CTL responses and IFN-gamma-producing CD8 cells was associated with a more complete blocking of Th2 cytokine production. Therefore, the presence of IL-4 may play an important role in the induction of neonatal tolerance by shifting maturation of CD4 cells toward Th2 cells and away from Th1 cells, and also by preventing maturation of alloreactive CD8 CTL cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Survival / immunology
  • Immune Tolerance* / drug effects
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin Transplantation / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Transplantation Conditioning
  • Transplantation Immunology* / immunology
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interleukin-4