Cellular and molecular neurobiology

IL-4 Induces Cholinergic Differentiation of Retinal Cells In Vitro.

PMID 25682112


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) is a pleiotropic cytokine that regulates several phenomena, among them survival and differentiation of neuronal and glial cells. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of IL-4 on the cholinergic differentiation of neonatal rat retinal cells in vitro, evaluating its effect on the levels of cholinergic markers (CHT1-high-affinity choline transporter; VAChT-vesicular acetylcholine transporter, ChAT-choline acetyltransferase, AChE-acetylcholinesterase), muscarinic receptors, and on the signaling pathways involved. Lister Hooded rat pups were used in postnatal days 0-2 (P0-P2). Our results show that IL-4 treatment (50 U/mL) for 48 h increases the levels of the cholinergic transporters VAChT and CHT1, the acetylcholinesterase activity, and the number of ChAT-positive cells. It also induces changes in muscarinic receptor levels, leading to a small decrease in M1 levels and a significant increase in M3 and M5 levels after 48 h of treatment. We also showed that IL-4 effect on M3 receptors is dependent on type I IL-4 receptor and on an increase in NFκB phosphorylation. These results indicate that IL-4 stimulates cholinergic differentiation of retinal cells.