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Allergy. 1999 Oct;54(10):1083-93.

Cytokine profiles of BAL T cells and T-cell clones obtained from human asthmatic airways after local allergen challenge.

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Southampton General Hospital, UK.



This study assessed the heterogeneity of cytokine expression in asthma before and after local allergen challenge.


BAL T cells were obtained 10 min or 24 h after local endobronchial allergen challenge in atopic asthmatic subjects. T cells were cloned by direct limiting dilution. mRNA expression was assessed by RT-PCR, and cytokine protein production by ELISA.


Unstimulated baseline BAL T cells expressed mRNA for IFN-gamma, IL-13, and TNF-alpha. A minority of samples expressed IL-4 and IL-5, but no IL-3 mRNA was detected. PHA stimulation increased expression of IL-3, IL-4, and IL-5 mRNA in 4/6 samples. IL-13 and GM-CSF mRNA were found in BAL cells after allergen challenge, but expression of IFN-gamma was reduced. Both IL-4 and IL-3 were strongly upregulated after PHA stimulation, while the expression of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma was reduced, compared to equivalent baseline samples. Seventeen panels of BAL T-cell clones were derived (average cloning efficiency 1/40 T cells). Seven panels survived to 8 weeks for analysis. Clones derived 4 h after saline challenge showed strong mRNA signals for IL-13, IL-4, and IFN-gamma, whereas clones derived 24 h after allergen challenge expressed IL-13, GM-CSF, IL-3, IL-4, and often IL-5 (i.e., closer to the Th2 profile). There was considerable heterogeneity in the patterns of cytokine mRNA and protein production by different clones.


T cells from asthmatic airways produce IL-13, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha, but after allergen challenge, type 2 cytokines are upregulated. mRNA and protein analysis provide complementary information on airways T-cell cytokine profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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