Interleukin-4. A regulatory protein

Jansen, J. H., Fibbe, W. E., Willemze, R. & Kluin-Nelemans, J. C., May-1990, In : Blut. 60, 5, p. 269-74 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Since its discovery in 1982, numerous biological activities of interleukin-4 (IL-4) have been described. Like other cytokines, IL-4 is highly pleiotropic, both with respect to the number of different target cells that are responsive to it and with respect to the number of different biological responses it elicits. Interleukin-4 was initially described as a costimulant for the proliferation of B lymphocytes stimulated with anti-IgM antibody. Synonyms for this cytokine are B cell growth factor-1 (BCGF-1) and B cell stimulatory factor-1 (BSF-1). After cloning of both the murine and human IL-4, the use of recombinant IL-4 enabled detailed studies of its biological functions. Many cell types, mainly of hematological origin, express receptors for IL-4. Accordingly, effects of IL-4 have been described on B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, NK cells, mononuclear phagocytes, mast cells, fibroblasts and hematopoietic progenitor cells. Currently, there are three major areas in which IL-4 appears to play an important role: 1) regulation of B cell growth and of antibody isotype expression. In this context, a possible role for IL-4 in allergic reactions is of special interest. 2) Stimulation of T cell growth and the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. In addition to the suppressive effects on the induction of non HLA-restricted cellular cytotoxicity by natural killer- (NK) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells, this suggests a role for IL-4 in the regulation of cellular immune responses. 3) Regulation of the growth and differentiation of hematopoietic bone marrow stem cells. IL-4 itself does not induce proliferation of hematological progenitor cells but it can modulate the growth-factor dependent proliferation of these cells. In this review the biological functions of IL-4, reported until present, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-74
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals, Humans, Interleukin-4

ID: 15680610