Interleukin-4 causes susceptibility to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis through suppression of protective type I responses.
Cenci E., Mencacci A., Del Sero G., Bacci A., Montagnoli C., d'Ostiani CF., Mosci P., Bachmann M., Bistoni F., Kopf M., Romani L.
Aspergillus fumigatus, an opportunistic fungal pathogen, causes multiple allergic and nonallergic airway diseases. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a nonallergic, life-threatening disease of immunocompromised patients. In a murine model of IPA, interleukin (IL)-4-deficient (IL-4-/-) BALB/c mice were used to examine the role of IL-4 in lung pathology and immune responses. IL-4-/- mice were more resistant than wild-type mice to infection caused by multiple intranasal injections of viable A. fumigatus conidia. Resistance was associated with decreased lung inflammatory pathology, impaired T helper (Th)-2 responses (including lung eosinophilia), and an IL-12-dependent Th1 response. In contrast, development of host-detrimental antifungal Th2 cells occurred in IL-12-/- and interferon-gamma-/- mice and in IL-4-/- mice when subjected to IL-12 neutralization. These results demonstrate that IL-4 renders mice susceptible to infection with A. fumigatus by inhibition of protective Th1 responses. IL-4 appears to have a distinct role in the pathogenesis of allergic and nonallergic lung diseases caused by the fungus.