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J Immunol. 2000 Apr 15;164(8):4393-8.

Characterization of T cell responses to Hev b 3, an allergen associated with latex allergy in spina bifida patients.

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  • 1Departments of General and Experimental Pathology, Pediatrics, and Blood Group Serology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The prevalence of type I allergy to Hevea brasiliensis latex is particularly high among individuals with frequent exposure such as health care workers and patients with spina bifida (SB). Due to a birth defect of the spinal canal and the resulting neurological and orthopedic defects, these patients require multiple surgeries during childhood. SB patients display a unique pattern of sensitization: IgE-reactivity is preferentially directed against Hev b 3 and Hev b 1, two latex allergens with high sequence similarity. In this study, we analyzed the T cell response to Hev b 3 in latex-allergic SB patients using poly-, oligo-, and monoclonal T lymphocyte cultures. All T cell clones (TCC) were CD3/CD4-positive and expressed the alphabeta TCR. According to their cytokine production pattern (IL-4 vs IFN-gamma), 12 of 21 TCC were classified as Th2-like, 2 of 21 were Th1-like, and 7 of 21 belonged to a Th0-like subset. Using 11 T cell lines and 21 TCC, nine T cell stimulating fragments were determined out of 52 overlapping 12-mer peptides representing the complete amino acid sequence of Hev b 3. Ag presentation of one dominant T cell epitope could be associated with a four-amino acid binding motif (YSTS, position 11-13) in the beta 1 chain of HLA-DR molecules expressed by the respective patients. No reactivity was observed when Hev b 3-reactive T cell lines or TCC were incubated with peptides representing homologous parts of the Hev b 1 molecule, i.e., no cross-reactivity between Hev b 3 and Hev b 1 at the T cell level was evident.

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