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Interleukin 4 (IL-4) has previously been shown to downregulate the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha, and hence has been considered to be a potential anti-inflammatory agent. In this study we have investigated the effects of IL-4 on the expression of both p55 and p75 TNF receptors (TNF-R) by flow cytometry and radioligand binding analyses and demonstrate that IL-4 downregulates both p55 and p75 TNF-R on HeLa and Jijoye cell lines in a dose dependent manner. IL-4 reduced the number of p55 TNF-R on HeLa cells from 6400 (Kd 5.1 nM) to 3900 (Kd 3.7 nM), and p75 TNF-R on Jijoye cells from 4800 (Kd 1.6 nM) to 3250 (Kd 1.5 nM). However, different effects were observed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). IL-4 inhibited the increase in p55 and p75 TNF-R on PBMC following adherence, whereas IL-4 upregulated p75 TNF-R expressed on PHA induced T cell blasts. To assess further the possible anti-inflammatory properties of IL-4, we studied its effects on synovial joint mononuclear cell cultures from 15 patients with inflammatory synovitis. In contrast to the differential effects of IL-4 on monocytes and T cells, IL-4 upregulated both p55 (P < 0.05) and p75 TNF-R (P < 0.005) on synovial joint cells in culture. IL-4 treatment caused a small decrease in levels of bioactive TNF-alpha in RA synovial culture supernatants, together with an increase in soluble p75 TNF-R levels although differences were not significant.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





205 - 212


Arthritis, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Burkitt Lymphoma, Cell Line, Cells, Cultured, Down-Regulation, HeLa Cells, Humans, Interleukin-4, Knee Joint, Monocytes, Osteoarthritis, Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Recombinant Proteins, Synovial Fluid, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Up-Regulation