Increased levels of soluble interleukin-4 receptor in the sera of patients with visceral leishmaniasis

J Infect Dis. 1999 Mar;179(3):743-6. doi: 10.1086/314635.


Kenyan subjects with visceral leishmaniasis were examined for evidence of increased production of soluble interleukin-4 receptor (sIL-4R). Soluble IL-4R regulates the bioactivity of IL-4, a cytokine important in mediating progressive forms of leishmaniasis. Persons with visceral leishmaniasis sustained 8- to 10-fold more circulating sIL-4R compared with Papua New Guinea residents with documented filariasis or uninfected Kenyan and North American subjects. Soluble IL-2R concentrations were elevated nonspecifically in both visceral leishmaniasis and filariasis patients. These findings are significant given that IL-4 induces sIL-4R in mice, and treatment with recombinant sIL-4R cures progressive murine leishmaniasis dependent on IL-4 bioactivity. Further studies are indicated to determine whether the immunologic detection of IL-4 produced in human visceral leishmaniasis is obscured because of sequestration by soluble receptor and whether the production of sIL-4R is relevant to the pathogenesis of visceral leishmaniasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / blood
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / therapy
  • Mice
  • North America
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / blood*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / therapeutic use
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Reference Values


  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4
  • Recombinant Proteins