Increased IL-4 mRNA expression and poly-aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations from children with asthma

Nasser M. Al-Daghri, Sherif Abd-Alrahman, Hossam Draz, Khalid Alkharfy, Abdul K. Mohammed, Mario S. Clerici, Majed S. Alokail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease. Imbalance of cytokines released from T helper cells and environmental factors, such as exposure to poly-aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), play pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of asthma. The aim of this study was to compare the mRNA expression patterns of Interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-γ and Acyl Co A long chain 3 (ACSL3) in peripheral blood leukocytes of children with and without asthma. To correlate the obtained mRNA data with serum IL-4, IFN-γ and PAH levels. Further, to determine the effect of in vivo exposure to PAH on mRNA expression of IL-4, IFN-γ and ACSL3 genes in a rat model.Methods: A total of 170 children below 16 years (85 pediatric asthma patients and 85 matched healthy controls) were randomly selected from the Riyadh Cohort, Saudi Arabia. Gene expression analysis was performed using qRTPCR. Serum IL-4, IFN-γ and PAH were measured using LINCOplex (human multiplex immunoassay kit) and HPLC respectively.Results: IL-4 mRNA expression was significantly increased (P <0.05) in children with asthma compared to healthy control group whereas no differences were observed for either IFN-γ or ACSL3 mRNA. Similarly, serum IL- 4 and PAHs concentration was significantly higher as well in children with asthma in whom IFN-γ was also significantly lower. Results obtained in rats showed that exposure to the benzopyrene prototype PAH resulted in a 2.6 fold (P <0.001) increased IL-4 mRNA expression in blood.Conclusion: Peripheral blood IL-4 mRNA levels, serum concentration of this cytokine are elevated in children with asthma. Also, elevated levels of PAH were observed in children with asthma. Additionally, PAH administration in rodents resulted in an increased IL-4 mRNA which is supposed to partly mediate the inflammatory response noted in asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 23 2014


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • IL4
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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