Effects of interleukin-4 on antigen-specific antibody synthesis by lymphocytes from old and young adults

E. A. Burns, G. D. L'Hommedieu, J. L. Cunning, J. S. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The current series of experiments were designed to explore the role of the B cell growth factor, interleukin-4 (IL-4), in the age-related decrease in production of antitetanus toxoid antibody in vitro. Exogenous recombinant IL- 4 led to significant suppression of antitetanus toxoid antibody synthesis and numbers of antitetanus toxoid antibody-secreting B cells in cultures from healthy old subjects and healthy young subjects. These effects were most pronounced when IL-4 was present during the early phase of culture. Lymphocytes from old subjects were less sensitive to these effects and produced significantly less IL-4 than did lymphocytes from young controls. The addition of exogenous IL-4 may be inhibiting early activation signals that normally stimulate proliferation of B cells. A decreased sensitivity to the growth-promoting effects of IL-4 may be one of the mechanisms underlying defective specific antibody synthesis in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalLymphokine and Cytokine Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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