The effects of IL-4 on IL-1 and TNF gene expression in human peripheral monocytes (PBM) were examined. Highly purified PBM cultured for 24 to 96 h in the presence of IL-4 produce neither IL-1 nor TNF protein. RNA hybridization studies demonstrated that IL-4 does not induce transcription of IL-1 or TNF. Preincubation of PBM with IL-4 did, however, inhibit LPS-induced IL-1 and TNF production in a dose- and time-related fashion. Maximal inhibition occurred after 96 h of incubation with 200 U/ml IL-4. RNA hybridization studies demonstrated that IL-4 suppressed the expression of IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, and TNF mRNA. These results suggest IL-4 modulates monocyte production of TNF and IL-1 by down-regulation of gene expression. This unique property of IL-4 may be important in the regulation of the immune response.

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