Background: The hyper-IgE (HIE), or Job's, syndrome is a rare, complex disorder characterized by high levels of serum IgE in childhood and chronic dermatitis with recurrent, often severe sinopulmonary and skin infections. Although the etiology of HIE syndrome is unknown, there is evidence that patients with HIE have abnormalities in cellular immune responses, as well as in the production of polyclonal and antigen-specific antibodies. Furthermore, there appears to be a common (but still undefined) mechanism underlying the regulation of IgE and IgG4 in this condition.
Objective: We sought to assess the role of cytokines or cytokine receptor blockade in regulating IgE and IgG4 production in HIE.
Methods: PBMCs were isolated from patients with HIE (n = 9) and normal individuals (n = 8), and IgE and IgG4 production was assessed spontaneously, in the presence of recombinant IL-4, IL-13, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and IFN-gamma, under conditions in which the IL-4R was blocked or when these cytokines were neutralized by specific monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies.
Results: In PBMCs from patients with HIE, a significant (P <.01) reduction in the spontaneously produced IgE (and IgG4) was induced by either IFN-gamma or IL-12, although neither cytokine could totally abrogate the immunoglobulin production. Whereas spontaneous IgE (and IgG4) production was not affected by exogenous IL-4 and IL-13, neutralizing antibodies to IL-4 and IL-13 also significantly (P <.01) reduced the production of IgE and IgG4, a finding supported by the observation of increased expression of IgE germline transcripts in these patients. In contrast to the neutralization of IL-4 and IL-13 protein, anti-IL-4R antibodies or soluble IL-4R completely suppressed IgE and IgG4 production in HIE. Similarly, IL-8 or antibodies to IL-6 and TNF-alpha, cytokines known to affect IL-4-dependent IgE production, completely inhibited both IgE and IgG4 production.
Conclusion: These data show that overproduction of IgE and IgG4 can be regulated by a number of cytokines affecting the IL-4-dependent pathway of IgE/IgG4 production in HIE and suggest new targets for therapeutic intervention.