Interleukin (IL)-13 has recently been shown to play important and unique roles in asthma, parasite immunity, and tumor recurrence. At least two distinct receptor components, IL-4 receptor (R)alpha and IL-13Ralpha1, mediate the diverse actions of IL-13. We have recently described an additional high affinity receptor for IL-13, IL-13Ralpha2, whose function in IL-13 signaling is unknown. To better appreciate the functional importance of IL-13Ralpha2, mice deficient in IL-13Ralpha2 were generated by gene targeting. Serum immunoglobulin E levels were increased in IL-13Ralpha2-/- mice despite the fact that serum IL-13 was absent and immune interferon gamma production increased compared with wild-type mice. IL-13Ralpha2-deficient mice display increased bone marrow macrophage progenitor frequency and decreased tissue macrophage nitric oxide and IL-12 production in response to lipopolysaccharide. These results are consistent with a phenotype of enhanced IL-13 responsiveness and demonstrate a role for endogenous IL-13 and IL-13Ralpha2 in regulating immune responses in wild-type mice.
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