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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2002 Oct;13(5):375-80.

Glucocorticoids enhance interleukin-4 production to neo-antigen (hyaluronidase) in children immunocompromised with cytostatic drugs.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University of Vienna, Austria.


Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated immediate-type allergic reactions to hyaluronidase have been observed in children with central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Glucocorticoids, used as therapy for brain edema, are discussed controversially as T helper 2 (Th2) stimulatory factors. In this study we investigated the role of glucocorticoids on a Th2 cytokine-promoting effect in children with CNS tumors. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from: 29 children suffering from malignant brain tumors, of whom 23 received short-term glucocorticoid treatment (for 3-4 days) during the course of chemotherapy; 18 children with nephrotic syndrome or renal transplantation receiving long-term glucocorticoid treatment; and 13 healthy children, were incubated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and/or anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody (mAb) and, in a second approach, with hyaluronidase. The concentrations of Th cell-mediated cytokines - interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) - were measured in supernatants. The IL-4 production of PBMCs incubated with PHA/anti-CD28 mAb from children with repeated co-administration of glucocorticoids, hyaluronidase, and cytostatic drugs (median: 249.9 pg/ml; range: 234.4-261.7) was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) than IL-4 production of PBMC from children of all the other groups (median: 86.18; range: 16.0-212.5). There was no significant difference in the levels of IL-10 and IFN-gamma within the groups. PBMCs stimulated only with hyaluronidase failed to produce detectable levels of cytokines. The results of this study indicate that repeated co-administration of glucocorticoids and hyaluronidase (a neo-antigen) enhance IL-4 production in vitro and thus may induce the production of specific IgE antibodies in children immunocompromised with cytostatic drugs. Hyaluronidase itself does not stimulate in vitro IL-4 synthesis in PBMCs of children receiving cytostatic drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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