Interleukin-4 and interleukin-4 soluble receptor α levels in bronchoalveolar lavage from children with asthma

P.S. Fitch, Vanessa Brown, Bettina Schock, Madeleine Ennis, Mike Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In asthma there is increased expression of the Th2-type cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4). IL-4 is important in immunoglobulin isotype switching to immunoglobulin E and adhesion of eosinophils to endothelium.

Objectives: We hypothesized that levels of IL-4 in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid would be increased in stable, atopic asthmatic children compared with controls and that levels of its physiologic inhibitor IL-4 soluble receptor α (IL-4sRα) would be correspondingly decreased.

Methods: One hundred sixteen children attending a children's hospital for elective surgery were recruited. A nonbronchoscopic BAL was performed, and IL-4 and IL-4sRα were measured in the BAL supernatants.

Results: There was no significant difference in IL-4 concentrations between atopic asthmatic children, atopic normal controls, and nonatopic normal controls [0.13 pg/mL (0.13 to 0.87) vs 0.13 pg/mL (0.13 to 0.41) vs 0.13 pg/mL (0.13 to 0.5), P = 0.65]. IL-4sRα levels were significantly increased in asthmatic patients compared with atopic controls [6.4 pg/mL (5.0 to 25.5) vs 5.0 pg/mL (5.0 to 9.9), P = 0.018], but not when compared with the nonatopic controls [5.2 pg/mL (5.0 to 10.6), P = 0.19].

Conclusions: Contrary to expectation, IL-4sRα levels are increased in BAL from stable asthmatic children compared with nonatopic controls, and we speculate that IL-4sRα is released by inflammatory cells in the airways to limit the proinflammatory effects of IL-4.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-433
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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