Granulocyte Macrophage Colony–Stimulating Factor–Driven Respiratory Mucosal Sensitization Induces Th2 Differentiation and Function Independently of Interleukin-4
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The development of T helper (Th)2 responses is a key step in the pathogenesis of asthma. Interleukin (IL)-4 is thought to be important, although not strictly necessary, for Th2 differentiation, although triggers of IL-4-independent Th2 polarization have not been identified. We examined whether IL-4 is necessary for Th2-polarized responses during granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-driven respiratory mucosal sensitization. Balb/c wild type (WT) or IL-4 knockout (4KO) mice were exposed to aerosolized ovalbumin (OVA) in the context of airway GM-CSF expression. We examined the extent of Th2 polarization using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction on lymph node mRNA, flow cytometric analysis of lung Th cells, and measurement of cells, cytokines, and immunoglobulins in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum. GATA-3 and CCR3, -4, and -8 were expressed in the lymph nodes of WT and 4KO mice at similar levels, as were IL-5 and IL-13 levels in the BAL, T1/ST2 on lung Th cells, and BAL eosinophils after recall challenge. With the exception of immunoglobulin production, expression of GATA-3, CCR-3, -4, -8, IL-5, and T1/ST2, and the generation of blood eosinophilia, were intact in mice doubly deficient in both IL-4 and IL-13. We conclude that IL-4 is not required for the generation of Th2-polarized responses in the presence of GM-CSF.
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