Present address: Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.
Increased expression of mRNA encoding interleukin (IL)-4 and its splice variant IL-4δ2 in cells from contacts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, in the absence of in vitro stimulation
Article first published online: 29 JUN 2004
Volume 112, Issue 4, pages 669–673, August 2004
How to Cite
Fletcher, H. A., Owiafe, P., Jeffries, D., Hill, P., Rook, G. A. W., Zumla, A., Doherty, T. M., Brookes, R. H. and the Vacsel Study Group (2004), Increased expression of mRNA encoding interleukin (IL)-4 and its splice variant IL-4δ2 in cells from contacts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, in the absence of in vitro stimulation. Immunology, 112: 669–673. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2004.01922.x
- Issue published online: 29 JUN 2004
- Article first published online: 29 JUN 2004
- Received 22 January 2004; revised 28 April 2004; accepted 13 May 2004.
Expression of interleukin (IL)-4 is increased in tuberculosis and thought to be detrimental. We show here that in healthy contacts there is increased expression of its naturally occurring antagonist, IL-4delta2 (IL-4δ2). We identified contacts by showing that their peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) released interferon (IFN)-γ in response to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific antigen 6 kDa early secretory antigenic target (ESAT-6). Fresh unstimulated PBMC from these contacts contained higher levels of mRNA encoding IL-4δ2 (P=0·002) than did cells from ESAT-6 negative donors (noncontacts). These data indicate that contact with M. tuberculosis induces unusual, previously unrecognized, immunological events. We tentatively hypothesize that progression to active disease might depend upon the underlying ratio of IL-4 to IL-4δ2.