Endogenous Interleukin-4 Does Not Suppress the Resistance Against a Primary or a Secondary Listeria monocytogenes Infection in Mice

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Abstract

Interleukin-4 (IL-4), a cytokine produced by T-helper 2 (Th2) cells, can inhibit the development of T-helper 1 (Th1) cells, which results in a decreased release of cytokines by the latter. As interferon-γ(IFN-γ), produced by Th1 cells, is involved in the resistance against aListeria monocytogenes infection, the role of endogenously formed IL-4 during a Listeria infection in mice was investigated. Neutralization of endogenously formed cytokines by subcutaneously injected alginate-encapsulated monoclonal antibody (MoAb)-forming cells results in high antibody titres in the circulation over a long time period. The aim of the present study was to re-evaluate the effect of neutralization of IL-4 during a primary Listeria infection and to investigate the role of IL-4 during a secondary infection in mice using encapsulated MoAb-forming cells. During the course of a primary infection in mice given anti-IL-4 antibody-forming cells (anti-IL-4-FC), the number of Listeria found in the liver and spleen was comparable to that found in control mice given anti-β-galactosidase antibody-forming cells(anti-β-gal-FC). Activation of macrophages measured by inhibition ofToxoplasma gondii proliferation and the release of reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) was not affected by anti-IL-4-FC treatment during infection. Furthermore, during a secondary L. monocytogenes infection the number of bacteria in the liver and spleen of anti-IL-4-treated immune mice was comparable to anti-β-gal-FC treated, control, immune mice. The concentration of IFN-γ in plasma of anti-IL-4-treated immune mice was similar to that of control immune mice. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that neutralization of endogenously formed IL-4 does not affect resistance to a primary or a secondary L. monocytogenes infection in mice.

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