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J Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;29(6):752-60. doi: 10.1007/s10875-009-9312-x. Epub 2009 Jun 20.

Specific immunotherapy to birch allergen does not enhance suppression of Th2 cells by CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells during pollen season.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.



The aim of this study was to investigate the suppressive capacity of CD25(+) regulatory T cells on birch allergen-induced T-cell responses during the first birch pollen season after initiation of specific immunotherapy (SIT).


CD25(pos) and CD25(neg) T cells were purified from blood of birch-allergic SIT patients and birch-allergic controls, stimulated with birch pollen extract, and analyzed for T-cell proliferation and production of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-10.


We show that allergen-induced proliferation and IFN-gamma production were suppressed equally well by CD25(pos) T cells from SIT patients and controls, while the IL-5 production was not suppressed by either of the groups. IL-10 levels were higher in SIT patients relative to controls only when CD25(neg) and CD25(pos) were cultured together. Furthermore, neither FOXP3 levels nor proportions of CD25(high) T cells were enhanced in SIT patients compared to allergic controls.


These results suggest that the Th2-suppressive capacity of allergen-stimulated CD25(pos) Treg in vitro is not improved by SIT in spite of increased IL-10 production from T cells.

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