• atopic dermatitis;
  • interleukin-4;
  • interleukin-19;
  • keratinocyte;
  • signal transducer and activator of transcription 6;
  • signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 response elements


Interleukin-19 (IL-19) plays an important role in asthma by stimulating T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine production. Interestingly, IL-4, a key Th2 cytokine, in turn up-regulates IL-19 expression in bronchial epithelial cells, so forming a positive feedback loop. In atopic dermatitis (AD), another Th2 disease closely related to asthma, IL-19 is up-regulated in the skin. We propose to use IL-4 transgenic (Tg) mice and human keratinocyte culture to delineate the molecular mechanisms involved in the up-regulation of IL-19 in AD. IL-19 is similarly up-regulated in the skin of IL-4 Tg mice as in human AD. Next we show that IL-4 up-regulates IL-19 expression in keratinocytes. Interestingly, the up-regulation was suppressed by a pan-Janus kinase (Jak) inhibitor, suggesting that the Jak–signal transducer and activator of transcription (Jak-STAT) pathway may be involved. Dominant negative studies further indicate that STAT6, but not other STATs, mediates the up-regulation. Serial 5′ deletion of the IL-19 promoter and mutagenesis studies demonstrate that IL-4 up-regulation of IL-19 in keratinocytes involves two imperfect STAT6 response elements. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay studies indicate that IL-4 increases the binding of STAT6 to its response elements in the IL-19 promoter. Taken together, we delineate the detailed molecular pathway for IL-4 up-regulation of IL-19 in keratinocytes, which may play an important role in AD pathogenesis.