We have identified that there are only two IL-4 gene haplotypes (I and II) in the Japanese population. There are significant differences among three genotypes (I/I, I/II and II/II) in the IL-4 producing proportion of peripheral Th cells using intracellular cytokine detection assay. These results make it likely that IL-4 genotype could influence the type of immune response.
Within the Japanese population we have studied the distribution of a variable number of tandem repeat polymorphisms (VNTR) located within the third intron of the IL-4 gene. Two alleles, B1 and B2, were characterized by two and three tandem repeats, respectively. We also found that there was a strong linkage disequilibrium between VNTR and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the IL-4 gene promoter region. These results indicated that only two IL-4 gene haplotypes, I and II, are present in the Japanese population. We also measured the proportion of peripheral Th cells which produced IL-4 among each of the genotype I/I, I/II, and II/II. Interestingly, the percentage of II/II Th cells which produced IL-4 was significantly lower than that of both I/I and I/II Th cells, suggesting that the haplotype I may allow for high IL-4 production.
CD4+ helper T (Th) cells can be classified into two different subsets based on their patterns of cytokine production. Th1 cells produce mainly interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) and promote cell-mediated immunity, whereas Th2 cells, which secrete IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13, are associated with humoral immune responses and induce antibody production.1 It has been demonstrated that an imbalance between Th1 and Th2 cytokine production is highly correlated with the induction and development of several autoimmune diseases. Correction of this Th1/Th2 imbalance has in fact led to the prophylaxis and therapy for such diseases in various models of autoimmunity.2,3,4,5
During the differentiation of mouse naive CD4+ T cells, IL-4 plays a necessary early role in the generation of IL-4 producing effector cells in vitro and in vivo: IL-4 is required for the subsequent appearance of IL-4-producing cells, and thus for Th2 lineage commitment.6,7,8 Furthermore Bix et al9 documented that IL-4 gene allelic expression was regulated in a probabilistic manner and indicated the possibility that microenvironmental signals such as IL-12 or IL-4 could influence the prevalence of cells that express distinct cytokine patterns.
The IL-4 gene is located on the long arm of chromosome 5, where it lies in close proximity to the genes for other Th2 cytokines such as IL-5 and IL-13. We have studied the distribution among the Japanese population of a variable number of tandem repeat polymorphism (VNTR) with a unit size of 70 bp, located within the third intron of the IL-4 gene.10 Allele-specific amplified DNAs were size-separated by 4% agarose electrophoresis and molecular genotyping of the VNTR polymorphism was performed. Two alleles were observed, B1 (183 bp) and B2 (253 bp), that are characterized by two and three tandem repeats, respectively. The allele and VNTR genotype frequencies in our population are strikingly different from those of the Caucasian population.11,12,13,14 The allele frequencies of B1 and B2 in the Japanese population as measured were 0.67 and 0.33, and the genotype frequencies for B1/B1, B1/B2, and B2/B2, were 0.45, 0.45 and 0.10, respectively (Table 1).
Within the IL-4 promoter region the −590C/T and −34C/T SNPs were previously reported.15,16 Therefore we studied the association between VNTR polymorphism and these SNPs, and found that −590T, −34T and B1 are on haplotype I, while −590C, −34C and B2 are on the other (haplotype II). These results indicated that there are only two IL-4 gene haplotypes within the Japanese population.
In order to assess the functional consequence of such haplotypes, we measured the IL-4-producing proportion of peripheral Th cells using an intracellular cytokine detection assay. The mean percentages of peripheral Th cells which produced IL-4 were 3.83 ± 1.46 for I/I, 3.69 ± 0.87 for I/II, and 1.97 ± 0.65 for II/II. The value measured for the II/II genotype is significantly lower than those of the other two. (Figure 1)
It was reported that −590T in the promoter region of the IL-4 gene have been related to elevated of serum IgE; this locus has been associated with the diagnosis of asthma in some studies, but not in others.17,18,19 Burchard et al20 have showed the association between −590T and asthma severity within the Caucasian population. This SNP is located upstream of all the known control element of IL-4, such as the negative regulatory element, the positive regulatory elements, the NF-Y recognition sequence, the OAP40 recognition sequence, the NF-P recognition sequence, and the TATA box, and affects IL-4 transcription activity.19 −590T promoter sequence showed greater binding to nuclear transcription factors from allergen stimulated or Jurkat human T cells than that of −590C sequence, and alteration in electrophoretic mobility shift assay was observed.15,21
On the other hand, there have been several reports of the association between the VNTR B1 allele and disease severity. For example, Vandenbroeck et al22 showed an association between B1 and delayed age at onset of multiple sclerosis (MS). Since cytokines produced by Th1 cells are known to promote the development of MS,22 it was suggested that increased responsiveness of IL-4 transcriptional activation due to the B1 allele may lead to overexpression of IL-4. Buchs et al14 demonstrated that the B1 allele may be a protective factor for severe joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), showing that only patients with non-destructive arthritis had an increased carriage rate of the B1 allele. In fact local IL-4 treatment to collagen-induced murine arthritis prevents joint damage and bone erosion to an impressive extent.23 Since these two reports have lacked −590SNP analysis the possibility of linkage disequilibrium between B1 and −590T cannot be excluded. It is possible that B1 may be nothing but the marker for −590T.
A number of variables influence the type of immune response including antigen dose and mode of delivery, types of antigen presenting cells, the nature of stimulatory or costimulatory signals, and specific cytokines present in the developmental microenvironment.24 The early IL-4 expression is a critical role in supporting the generation of IL-4-producing effector cells.25,26 The high IL-4 phenotype of BALB/c mice stems not from the elevated production of IL-4 per cell, but rather from an increase in the proportion of naive T cells that commit to IL-4 expression after T cell receptor activation.25 The fact that a significance between genotypes was observed in the proportion of Th cells producing IL-4 makes it likely that IL-4 genotype could influence the type of immune response.
Mosmann TR, Coffman RL . TH1 and TH2 cells: different patterns of lymphokine secretion lead to different functional properties Annu Rev Immunol 1989 7: 145–173
Ishida H, Muchamuel T, Sakaguchi S, Andrade S, Menon S, Howard M . Continous administration of anti-interleukin 10 antibodies delays onset of autoimmunity in NZB/W mice J Exp Med 1994 179: 305–310
Rapoport MJ, Jaramillo A, Zipris D et al. Interleukin 4 reverses T cell proliferative unresponsiveness and prevents the onset of diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice J Exp Med 1994 178: 87–99
Racke MK, Bonomo A, Scott DE et al. Cytokine-induced immune deviation as a therapy for inflammatory autoimmune disease J Exp Med 1994 180: 1961–1966
Nicholson LB, Greer JM, Sobel RA, Lees MB, Kuchroo VK . An altered peptide ligand mediates immune deviation and prevents autoimmune encephalomyelitis Immunity 1995 3: 397–405
Seder RA, Paul WE, Davis MM, Fazekas de St Groth B . The presence of IL-4 during in vivo priming determines the lymphokine-producing potential of CD4+ T cells from T cell receptor transgenic mice J Exp Med 1992 176: 1091–1098
Hsieh CS, Heimberger AB, Gold JS, O’Garra A, Murphy KM . Differential regulation of T helper phenotype development by interleukin 4 and 10 in an αβ-T cell receptor transgenic system Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1992 89: 6065–6069
Hsieh CS, Macatonia SE, Tripp CS, Wolf SE, O’Garra A, Murphy KM . Development of Th1 CD4+ T cells through IL-12 produced by Listeria-induced macrophages Science 1993 260: 547–549
Bix M, Locksley RM . Independent and epigenetic regulation of the interleukin-4 alleles in CD4+ T cells Science 1998 281: 1352–1354
Mout R, Willemze R, Landegent JE . Repeat polymorphisms in the interleukin-4(IL-4) Nucleic Acid Res 1991 19: 3763
Vandenbrock K, Martino G, Marrosu MG et al. Occurrence and clinical relevance of an interleukin-4 gene polymorphism in patients with multiple sclerosis J Neuroimmunol 1997 76: 189–192
Huang D, Xia S, Zhou Y, Pirskanen R, Liu L, Lefvert AK . No evidence of interleukin-4 gene conferring susceptibility to myasthenia gravis J Neuroimmunol 1998 92: 208–211
Cantagrel A, Navaux F, Loubet-Lescoulie P et al. Interleukin-1b, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-4, and interleukin-10 gene polymorphisms. Relationship to occurrence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis Arthritis Rheum 1999 42: 1093–1100
Buchs N, Silvestri T, di Giovine FS et al. IL-4 VNTR gene polymorphism in chronic polyarthritis. The rare allele is associated with protection against destruction Rheumatology 2000 39: 1126–1131
Rosenwasser LJ, Klemm DJ, Dresback JK et al. Promorter polymorphisms in the chromosome 5 gene cluster in asthma and atopy Clin Exp Allergy 1995 2: 74–78
Takabayashi A, Ihara K, Sasaki Y, Kusuhara K, Nishima S, Hara T . Novel polymorphism in the 5′-untranslated region of the interleukin-4 gene J Hum Genet 1999 44: 352–353
Kawashima T, Noguchi E, Arinami T et al. Linkage and association of an interleukin 4 gene polymorphism with atopic dermatitis in Japanese families J Med Genet 1998 35: 502–504
Noguchi E, Shibasaki M, Arinami T et al. Association of asthma and the interleukin-4 promorter gene in Japanese Clin Exp Allergy 1998 28: 449–453
Wally AJ, Cookson WQ . Investigation of an interleukin-4 promorter polymorphism for associations with asthma and atopy J Med Genet 1996 33: 689–692
Burchard EG, Silverman EK, Rosenwasser LJ et al. Association between a sequence variant in the IL-4 gene promorter and FEV1 in asthma Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999 160: 919–922
Song Z, Casolaro V, Chen R, Georas SN, Monos D, Ono SJ . Polymorphic nucleotides within the human IL-4 promorter that mediate overexpression of the gene J Immunol 1996 156: 424–429
Olsson T . Cytokine-producing cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis Neurology 1995 45: S11–S15
Lubberts E, Joosten LA, Chabaud M et al. IL-4 gene therapy for collagen arthritis suppress synovial IL-17 and osteoprotegerin ligand and prevents bone erosion J Clin Invest 2000 105: 1697–1710
Abbas AK, Murphy KM, Sher A . Functional diversity of helper T lymphocytes Nature 1996 383: 787–793
Bix M, Wang Z-N, Thiel B, Schork NJ, Locksley RM . Genetic regulation of commitment to interleukin 4 production by a CD4+ T cell-intrinsic mechanism J Exp Med 1998 188: 2289–2299
Grogan JL, Mohrs M, Harmon B, Lacy DA, Sedat JW, Locksley RM . Early transcription and silencing of cytokine genes underlie polarization of T helper cell subsets Immunity 2001 14: 205–215
Jung T, Schauer U, Hausser C, Neumann C, Reiger C . Detection of intracellular cytokines by flow cytometry J Immunol Methods 1993 159: 197–207
Picker LJ, Singh MK, Zdraveski Z et al. Direct demonstration of cytokine synthesis heterogeneity among human memory/effector T cells by flow cytometry Blood 1995 86: 1408–1419
Maino VC, Picker LJ . Identification of functional subsets by flow cytometry: intracellular detection of cytokine expression Cytometry 1998 34: 207–215
We thank Ms Yuko Furukawa for her skilful technical assistance. We are especially grateful to Dr Motosuke Hanada for his encouragement and helpful advice.
This research was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
About this article
Cite this article
Nakashima, H., Miyake, K., Inoue, Y. et al. Association between IL-4 genotype and IL-4 production in the Japanese population. Genes Immun 3, 107–109 (2002) doi:10.1038/sj.gene.6363830
- IL-4 genotype
- IL-4 production
Oral Diseases (2019)
Molecular Biology Reports (2018)
IL4-589C>T GENE POLYMORPHISM AND EXPRESSION OF INTERLEUKIN-4 IN PATIENTS WITH DEVELOPING CHRONIC TRAUMATIC OSTEOMYELITIS
Medical Immunology (Russia) (2018)
Immunological Investigations (2018)
Association of variable number tandem repeats polymorphism in the IL-4 gene with end-stage renal disease in children
Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics (2018)