Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Original research article

Role of interleukin 4 and its receptor in clinical presentation of chronic extrinsic allergic alveolitis: a pilot study

Martina Sterclova1*, Radoslav Matej2, Petra Mandakova3, Jelena Skibova4 and Martina Vasakova1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Diseases, ThomayerHospital, Videnska 800, Prague 4 140 00, Czech Republic

2 Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, ThomayerHospital, Videnska 800, Prague 4 140 00, Czech Republic

3 Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, 2nd Medical Faculty of Charles University, University Hospital Motol, V Úvalu 84, Prague 5 150 06, Czech Republic

4 Department of Medical Statistics, Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Videnska 1958/9, Prague 4 140 21, Czech Republic

For all author emails, please log on.

Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine 2013, 8:35  doi:10.1186/2049-6958-8-35

Published: 30 May 2013



Th-2 cytokine milieu including interleukin 4 (IL-4) was detected in fibrotic lung diseases. Chronic extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA) may be also accompanied by marked fibrogenesis. The aim of this study was to determine if IL-4 and its receptor (IL-4R-alpha) play any role in the clinical presentation and pathogenesis of chronic EAA.


Twenty patients originally investigated for interstitial lung disease and finally diagnosed affected with chronic EAA and sarcoidosis were prospectively enrolled into the study. Concentrations of IL-4, IL-4R-aplha and total protein were assessed in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of all enrolled subjects as well as high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scores and pulmonary function tests.


BALF IL-4R-alpha and total protein concentrations were significantly higher in chronic EAA patients (p < 0.05). Concentrations of BALF IL-4R-alpha were significantly higher in men than in women (p < 0.05) in EAA group. Total protein BALF levels were significantly elevated in ex-smokers with EAA compared to nonsmokers (p < 0.05). A positive correlation (p < 0.01) between IL-4R-alpha BALF concentrations and HRCT interstitial scores were observed in chronic EAA group; the IL-4R-alpha/total protein ratio showed the same significant positive correlation. A negative correlation between lung function results and IL-4R-alpha, and IL-4R-alpha/total protein as well, was also found (p < 0.05).


We suggest a clinical relevance for the IL-4/IL-4R axis in the etiopathogenesis of chronic EAA. IL-4R-alpha could serve as a potential biomarker of lung fibrogenesis.

Chronic extrinsic allergic alveolitis; High resolution computed tomography score; Interleukin 4; Interleukin 4 receptor; Sarcoidosis