Résumé : BACKGROUND: Acute rejection of MHC class II-disparate bm12 skin grafts by C57BL/6 recipient mice is characterized by massive graft infiltration by eosinophils, together with increased intragraft amounts of IL-4 and IL-5 mRNA. IL-5 blockade prevents the intragraft eosinophil infiltration and prolongs the survival of skin allografts. As the differentiation of T cell precursors into Th2 cells is largely driven by IL-4, we investigated the role of IL-4 in MHC class II-disparate allograft rejection. METHODS: We performed skin grafts from MHC class II incompatible bm12 mice into wild-type C57BL/6 mice (IL-4) or C57BL/6 IL-4 deficient mice (IL-4). Graft survival, in vitro T cell reactivity, and histology were compared. RESULTS: We observed that 50% of IL-4 mice rapidly rejected their bm12 allograft, whereas the other 50% retained their graft 60 days after transplantation. Histological examination of bm12 allografts retained by IL-4 mice showed a normal appearance with no inflammatory infiltrate and no eosinophils. Among IL-4 mice that acutely rejected their bm12 skin graft, we observed a dense polymorphonuclear infiltrate. The depletion of neutrophils significantly prolonged bm12 graft survival. CONCLUSIONS: Eosinophil infiltrates, typical of MHC class II disparate acute skin graft rejection, are critically dependent on the availability of IL-4. IL-4 mice reject MHC class II disparate skin grafts by a pathway of rejection where neutrophils play a direct causal role.