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Mohammed S. Razzaque, Babar S. Ahmed, C. Stephen Foster, A. Razzaque Ahmed; Effects of IL-4 on Conjunctival Fibroblasts: Possible Role in Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(8):3417-3423. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-1084.
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purpose. Increased stromal accumulation of macrophages and submucosal fibrosis due to excessive accumulation of collagens are central histologic features in ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP). Interleukin (IL)-4 plays an important role in both the inflammatory and fibrotic events in several human and experimental diseases. In the present study, the possible role of IL-4 in the pathogenesis of OCP was investigated.
methods. Biopsy specimens from the conjunctivae of 10 patients with OCP and 5 normal subjects were studied for the expression of IL-4 by immunohistochemistry. The expression level of IL-4 was also examined in conjunctival fibroblasts of normal control subjects and patients with OCP. The effects of IL-4 in the induction of inflammatory and fibrogenic molecules was studied in IL-4–treated conjunctival fibroblasts, and the expression levels of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (m-CSF), heat shock protein (HSP)-47 and type I collagen was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. The level of IL-4 was also measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in serum samples obtained from patients with OCP during active stage and remission and were compared with the levels in control sera.
results. Compared with the weak expression of IL-4 in the normal conjunctival sections, an increased expression of IL-4 was noted in conjunctival sections of patients with OCP. A similar increase in the expression of IL-4 was also detected in fibroblasts isolated from conjunctiva of patients with OCP, compared with control fibroblasts. Real-time PCR and ELISA detected a significantly increased level of m-CSF, at both the mRNA and protein levels in IL-4–stimulated cells. Similarly, IL-4 treatment resulted in the induction of type I collagen and collagen-binding HSP47 by conjunctival fibroblasts, as detected by real-time PCR. However, no apparent changes in the levels of IL-4 were detected by ELISA in serum samples of patients with OCP and control subjects.
conclusions. Increased conjunctival expression of IL-4 may play an important role in the regulation of local accumulation of macrophages (by inducing m-CSF), and matrix accumulation (by inducing HSP47 and collagen) during conjunctival scarring in patients with OCP. IL-4, therefore, may augment or enhance both conjunctival inflammatory and subsequent fibrotic responses in patients with OCP.
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