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Scand J Immunol. 1999 Mar;49(3):293-301.

Peripheral blood T-cell receptor beta-chain V-repertoire in atopic dermatitis patients after in vitro exposure to Pityrosporum orbiculare extract.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The yeast Pityrosporum orbiculare belongs to the normal cutaneous flora but is also considered to be one of the factors that may contribute to atopic dermatitis (AD). In the present study we investigated the possibility that P. orbiculare can act with superantigen activity in AD. P. orbiculare-reactive T-cell lines (TCLs) were obtained after stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with P. orbiculare extract. T-cell receptor beta-chain V-segment (TCRBV) usage was investigated using monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry. We could not find any difference in TCRBV usage between AD patients (n = 10) and healthy controls (n = 5), either in fresh PBMC or in P. orbiculare-reactive TCLs. Compared with their original PBMCs the P. orbiculare-reactive TCLs showed a decreased usage of several TCRBVs, although increased usage of certain TCRBVs could be seen in some of the individuals. Further analysis of the CDR3-length polymorphism exhibited a shift in CDR3-length distribution, indicating oligoclonal expansion of T cells specific to different antigens in the P. orbiculare extract. In conclusion we have not found any evidence for superantigen activity in P. orbiculare extract, but our data support the importance of classical major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted allergens in P. orbiculare.

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