Interleukins and Interferons

Important Points on Interleukin:
  • IL-1
    • is produced by many different cell types, with relatively high concentrations being produced by macrophages, monocytes, Langerhans' cells of the skin, and other dendritic cells.
    • was formerly known as lymphocyte-activating factor (LAF).
    • augments the activity of many cell types, especially T cells.
    • is an endogenous pyrogen (EP).
    • induces an increase in acute phase reactants.
    • is a heat-stable and pH-stable peptide with a molecular weight of 17.5 kd.
    • occurs in two forms: IL-1α and IL-1β.

  • IL-2
    • is produced by T cells and large granular lymphocytes (LGLs).
    • was formerly known as T-cell growth factor (TCGF).
    • augments proliferation of T and B cells.
    • enhances activity of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells.
    • is a heat-labile glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 15.5 kd.

  • IL-3
    • is produced by T cells.
    • enhances hematopoiesis.

  • IL-4
    • is produced by T cells.
    • is mitogenic for B cells.
    • promotes a switch to IgE production.
    • stimulates mast cells.

  • IL-5
    • is produced by T cells.
    • stimulates B-cell differentiation and maturation.
    • enhances IL-2 receptor expression.
    • enhances IgA synthesis.

  • IL-6
    • is produced by B cells, T cells, monocytes, and fibroblasts.
    • induces acute phase reactants.
    • induces B-cell differentiation.

  • IFN-gamma
    • is produced by activated T cells and LGLs.
    • increases the expression of class II HLAs on B cells, macrophages, and other APCs.
    • has antiviral properties.
    • provides regulatory control in the immune response.
    • has a heat-labile glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 17 kd.


Q 1 -Which of the following substances enhances the switch from immunoglobulin G (IgG) to immunoglobulin E (IgE) production?
(A) Interleukin (IL)-1
(B) IL-2
(C) IL-3
(D) IL-4
ANS - D. Interleukin-4 (IL-4) is the major interleukin involved in the shift to immunoglobulin E (IgE) production and concomitant stimulation of mast cells. IL-4 is therefore important in the inception and maintenance of type I hypersensitivity reactions.

Q 2 - Which of the following substances is produced by macrophages and macrophage-like cells?
(A) Interleukin (IL)-1
(B) IL-2
(C) IL-3
(D) IL-4
ANS - A. Macrophage and macrophage-like cells produce interleukin (IL)-1. (All the other interleukins listed are T-cell products.) Macrophages are also known to produce tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-β and several other monokines. Some researchers believe that IL-6 and IL-8 are produced by both T cells and macrophages.

Q 3 - Which of the following substances is a potent stimulator of hematopoiesis?
(A) Interleukin (IL)-1
(B) IL-2
(C) IL-3
(D) IL-4
ANS - C. Interleukin-3 (IL-3) is the major hematopoiesis stimulator of the interleukins listed.

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