To determine whether the paracrine secretion of interleukin (IL)-12 can efficiently convert immune responses characterized by high levels of synthesis of IL-4 and immunoglobulin E (IgE) into T helper 1 (Th1)-dominated responses, 3T3 fibroblasts were stably transfected to secrete IL-12 (480 units/106 cells/48 hr). Their effects on the T helper cell-mediated immune response were investigated in ovalbumin (OVA)-primed mice. Free mouse recombinant IL-12 was included as a control group. IL-12-secreting fibroblasts (3T3/IL-12) were more effective than free recombinant IL-12 at increasing OVA-specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production and decreasing OVA-specific IL-4 production in CD4+ T cells. In addition, injection with 3T3/IL-12 cells significantly increased anti-OVA immunoglobulin G2a (IgG2a) levels and decreased anti-OVA IgE levels in OVA-primed mice. This work suggests that IL-12-secreting fibroblasts can efficiently induce an antigen-specific Th1 response and may be beneficial in the treatment of diseases caused by undesirable T helper 2 (Th2)-dominated responses, including allergic diseases.
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