Interleukin 4 production by human amnion epithelial cells and regulation of its activity by glycosaminoglycan binding

C. A. Jones, K. A. Williams, J. J. Finlay-Jones, P. H. Hart

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The pro-inflammatory molecules, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin 1 (IL-1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), are postulated to have a role in human pregnancy and parturition. The ability of interleukin 4 (IL-4) to suppress the production of TNFα, IL-1, IL-6, and PGE2 by activated monocytes prompted us to investigate a possible regulatory role for IL-4 in human gestation. Immunohistochemical techniques were used to show that human amnion epithelium stained positively for IL-4. Tissue from both the first (n = 5) and third (n = 46) trimester expressed immunoreactive IL-4, which was detected by the use of four antihuman IL-4 monoclonal antibodies. Analysis of mRNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on RNA extracts of amnion epithelial cells indicated that they were the source of IL-4. One of the anti-IL-4 antibodies used stained IL-4 protein associated with the basement membrane of the amnion epithelium. The mechanism of this association was investigated. IL-4 was shown to be a heparin-binding cytokine, which would enable it to bind to components of the extracellular matrix. Thus, this study identified a previously undescribed cellular source of IL-4, implicating a role for IL-4 in human gestation. Additionally, glycosaminoglycan binding may regulate IL-4 activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-847
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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