IL-4 Knock Out Mice Display Anxiety-Like Behavior

Morgan L. Moon, Jennifer J. Joesting, Neil A. Blevins, Marcus A. Lawson, Stephen J. Gainey, Albert E. Towers, Leslie K. McNeil, Gregory G. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammation is a recognized antecedent and coincident factor when examining the biology of anxiety. Little is known, however, about how reductions in endogenous anti-inflammatory mediators impact anxiety. Therefore, mood- cognition- and anxiety-associated/like behaviors were examined in IL-4 knock out (KO) mice and wild-type (WT) mice. In comparison to WT mice, IL-4 KO mice demonstrated decreased burrowing and increased social exploration. No differences were seen in forced swim or saccharine preference testing. IL-4 KO mice had similar performance to WT mice in the Morris water maze and during object location and novel object recognition. In the elevated zero-maze, IL-4 KO mice, in comparison to WT mice, demonstrated anxiety-like behavior. Anxiety-like behavior in IL-4 KO mice was not observed, however, during open-field testing. Taken together, these data indicate that IL-4 KO mice display state, but not trait, anxiety suggesting that reductions in endogenous anti-inflammatory bioactives can engender subtypes of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 9 2015


  • Anxiety
  • IL-4
  • Immune skew
  • Mice
  • State anxiety
  • Trait anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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