IL-4 increases surfactant and regulates metabolism in vivo

Machiko Ikegami, Jeffrey A. Whitsett, Zissis C. Chroneos, Gary F. Ross, Jacquelyn A. Reed, Cindy J. Bachurski, Alan H. Jobe

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64 Scopus citations


Mice that express interleukin (IL)-4 in Clara cells (CCSP-IL-4) develop chronic airway inflammation and an alveolar proteinosis-like syndrome. To identify the role of IL-4 in surfactant homeostasis, we measured lipid and protein metabolism in the lungs of CCSP-IL-4 mice in vivo. Alveolar saturated phosphatidylcholine (Sat PC) pools were increased 6.5-fold and lung tissue Sat PC pools were increased 4.8-fold in the IL-4 transgenic mice. Whereas surfactant protein (SP) A was increased proportionately to Sat PC, SP-D was increased approximately 90-fold in the IL-4 mice compared with wild-type mice and was associated with 2.8-fold increase in SP-D mRNA. The incorporation of palmitate and choline into Sat PC was increased about twofold in CCSP-IL-4 mice. Although trace doses of radiolabeled Sat PC were cleared from the air spaces and lungs of CCSP-IL-4 mice more slowly than in wild-type mice, net clearance of Sat PC from the lungs of CCSP-IL-4 mice was sixfold higher in the IL-4 mice than in wild-type mice because of the larger Sat PC pool sizes. Expression of IL-4 in Clara cells increased surfactant lipid synthesis and clearance, establishing a new equilibrium with increased surfactant pools and an alveolar proteinosis associated with a selective increase in SP-D protein, demonstrating a previously unexpected effect of IL-4 in pulmonary surfactant homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L75-L80
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 22-1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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