Inhibitory influence of IL-4 on human B cell responsiveness

D. F. Jelinek, P. E. Lipsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The role of IL-4 in human B cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation was examined. rIL-2, but not rIL-4, was able to promote maximum proliferation and generation of Ig-secreting cells in cultures of highly purified B cells stimulated with Cowan I Staphylococcus aureus (SA). Addition of rIL-4 to rIL-2-supported cultures of SA-stimulated peripheral blood, spleen, or lymph node B cells dramatically suppressed both proliferation and differentiation. Results from experiments in which rIL-4 was added to culture at progressively later times indicated a requirement for rIL-4 to be present during the first 2 days of a 5-day incubation to cause inhibition of responsiveness. When a two-stage culture system was utilized, rIL-4 was found to support proliferation or differentiation of B cells initially activated with SA for 2 days only minimally, How ever, rIL-4 did not inhibit responses of SA preactivated B cells supported by IL-2. The presence of rIL-4 during the initial 48-h activation of B cells with SA and rIL-2 resulted in a profound inhibition of the ability of the activated B cells to respond subsequently to rIL-2 or lymphokine-rich T cell supernatants. A similar 48-h incubation with rIL-4 alone without SA had no effect on subsequent B cell responsiveness. The presence of rIFN-γ during B cell activation decreased the inhibitory effect of IL-4. Other cytokines including IFN-α, IL-1, and commercially available low m.w. B cell growth factor also diminished the inhibitory effect of IL-4. These results indicate that IL-4 inhibits the capacity of human B cells to be activated maximally by SA and rIL-2 and therefore suggest a new immunomodulatory role for this cytokine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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