The role of IL-13 and its receptor in allergy and inflammatory responses

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998 Aug;102(2):165-9. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(98)70080-6.


IL-13 is a cytokine that is produced by different T-cell subsets and dendritic cells. IL-13 shares many biologic activities with IL-4. This is due to the fact that IL-13- and IL-4-receptor complexes share the IL-4-receptor alpha-chain, which is important for signal transduction. T cells do not express functional IL-13 receptors. This is the reason why IL-13, in contrast to IL-4, fails to induce TH2-cell differentiation, one of the hallmarks of the allergic response. However, IL-13 is required for optimal induction of IgE synthesis, particularly in situations in which IL-4 production is low or absent. On the other hand, IL-13 inhibits proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in vitro and has potent antiinflammatory activities in vivo. From these observations, it can be concluded that IL-13 is an antiinflammatory cytokine that plays a unique role in the induction and maintenance of IgE production and IgE-mediated allergic responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interleukin-13 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-13 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-13
  • Signal Transduction


  • IL13RA1 protein, human
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-13 Receptor alpha1 Subunit
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-13
  • Immunoglobulin E