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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Apr;31(4):1037-46.

Clonal Th2 cells associated with chronic hypereosinophilia: TARC-induced CCR4 down-regulation in vivo.

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Department of Immunology-Hematology-Transfusion, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


We analyzed the expression of chemokine receptors on clonal Th2-type CD4(+)CD3(- )lymphocytes isolated from blood of two patients with chronic hypereosinophilia. First, we observed that these Th2 cells express membrane CCR5 and CXCR4 but neither CCR3 nor CCR4 when analyzed immediately after purification. However, CCR4 appeared following culture in human serum-free medium, suggesting that it was down-regulated in vivo. Indeed, patient's serum, but not control human serum, strongly down-regulated CCR4 expression on cultured Th2 cells. As high levels of TARC, a CCR4 ligand, were detected in the serum of four hypereosinophilic patients with CD3(-)CD4(+) clonal Th2 cells, we evaluated the effect of TARC neutralization in this system. Addition of a neutralizing anti-TARC mAb inhibited CCR4 down-regulation by patient's serum, indicating that circulating TARC contributed to CCR4 down-regulation on Th2 cells in vivo. Clonal Th2 cells did not secrete high levels of TARC themselves but induced a sustained production of TARC by monocyte-derived dendritic cells, a phenomenon that was inhibited by addition of blocking mAb against IL-4 receptor. We conclude that high circulating levels of TARC in serum of patients with chronic hypereosinophilia, most likely derived from antigen-presenting cells stimulated by Th2-type cytokines, induce down-regulation of CCR4 on Th2 cells in vivo.

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