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J Immunol. 1995 Apr 15;154(8):4187-94.

Bee venom immunotherapy results in decrease of IL-4 and IL-5 and increase of IFN-gamma secretion in specific allergen-stimulated T cell cultures.

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  • 1Ziegler Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.


The mechanisms of bee venom immunotherapy (VIT) are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to follow the changes of T cell cytokine secretion during the course of VIT. Ten bee venom-allergic patients with a history of severe systemic reactions, positive skin tests, and bee venom (BV)-specific serum IgE Abs were treated as follows: on the first day, a cumulative dose of 111 micrograms, starting with 0.1 microgram, was administered s.c. under intensive care conditions. Further injections of 100 micrograms BV were given on day 7, day 21, and thereafter at intervals of 4 wk. Blood samples were obtained just before the initiation of VIT, after the last injection on the same day, and before the subsequent BV injections on days 7, 21, and 50 of VIT. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were stimulated with phospholipase A (PLA), the major BV allergen, or with a control Ag tetanus toxoid (TT). Cytokine secretion was measured 24 h after restimulation of the cultures with solid-phase bound OKT3 F(ab')2 mAbs after 7 days of culture. In PLA-stimulated cultures, VIT resulted in decreased IL-4 and IL-5 and increased IFN-gamma secretion. In TT-stimulated cultures, we observed similar levels of cytokines before and during VIT. We conclude that ultra-rush VIT changes allergen-specific T cell reactivity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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