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An essential role for IL-13 in maintaining a non-healing response following leishmania mexicana infection

Alexander, James and Brombacher, Frank and McGachy, H.A. and McKenzie, A.N.J. and Walker, W. and Carter, K.C. (2002) An essential role for IL-13 in maintaining a non-healing response following leishmania mexicana infection. European Journal of Immunology, 32 (10). pp. 2923-2933. ISSN 0014-2980

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A comparison of the growth of Leishmania mexicana in IL-4–/–, IL-4R–/– and wild-type BALB/c mice demonstrated a disease exacerbative role for IL-13 as well as IL-4. Thus, while both IL-4–/– and IL-4R–/– mice were more resistant than wild-type controls to infection with L. mexicana, IL-4R–/– mice, which are unresponsive to IL-13 as well as IL-4, were significantly more resistant to parasite growth than their IL-4–/– counterparts. Cytokine and antibody analysis revealed a Th1-biased specific response in both infected IL-4–/– and IL-4R–/– mice compared with wild-type animals. Reconstituting SCID mice with IL-4–/–, IL-4R–/– or wild-type splenocytes prior to infection demonstrated that the early onset of lesion growth was dependent on the presence of lymphocytes responding to IL-4 and/or IL-13, as lesions failed to develop in only the SCID IL-4R–/– reconstituted mice. An independent role for IL-13 in L. mexicana infection was demonstrated by comparing disease progression in IL-13–/–, IL-4–/–/IL-13–/– and wild-type B6/129 mice. In contrast to IL-4–/–/IL-13–/– mice, which were resistant, IL-13–/– mice developed lesions similar in size to wild-type animalsup to week 8 post infection. However, in contrast to wild-type mice in which disease continued to progress, lesions eventually healed in IL-13–/– mice, in association with the development of a Th1 response. Collectively our results suggest that IL-4 plays a critical role in early lesion development, and that IL-13 plays a crucial part in maintaining a chronic non-healing infection.