Regulation of IgE synthesis by T cells and cytokines Academic Article uri icon


  • Human IgE synthesis is tightly regulated by cytokines. IgE production by normal B cells is specifically induced by IL-4, but requires additional, yet to be defined, signals that are provided by CD4+ T cells. Single surface IgM+ B cells can be induced to proliferate and switch to IgG4 and IgE producing cells, indicating that the induction of IgE synthesis by IL-4 and CD4+ T cells reflects direct isotype switching. Although IL-4 is the sole inducing cytokine of IgE synthesis known thus far, multiple cytokines modulate IL-4 induced IgE synthesis in vitro. IFN-alpha, IFN-gamma TGF-beta and IL-10 are inhibitory, whereas IL-5, IL-6 and TNF-alpha act synergistically with IL-4. Results obtained with animal models, as well as from clinical studies in the human have indicated that IL-4, IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma are operational in vitro. Cocultivation of B cells with allergen-specific CD4+ T cell clones producing high levels of IL-4 and IL-5, but normal to undetectable levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma, following activation resulted in the synthesis of IgE, in the absence of exogenously added IL-4. These results indicate that aberrant ratio's of IL-4 and IFN-gamma production are sufficient for induction of IgE synthesis in vitro.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


  • Yssel, H
  • Aversa, G
  • Punnonen, J
  • Cocks, B
  • de Vries, JE

publication date

  • January 1993