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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Nov;31(11):3394-402.

High IL-13 production by human neonatal T cells: neonate immune system regulator?

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National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Laboratory for Vaccine Research (LVR), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Neonates are highly susceptible to diseases and display biased type 2 immune responses, although no skewing to type 2 cytokines has been reported. In view of the emerging importance of IL-13 in type 2 inflammatory responses and clinical allergy, we analyzed IL-13 production by neonatal T cells. We found that, mainly CD8 T cells produced high levels of IL-13, while producing low levels of IL-4, IL-10 and IFN-gamma, upon primary and secondary stimulation. Our results point towards a possible immunoregulatory role of CD8 T cells in neonate responses. Moreover, they suggest that the abundance of IL-13 in the neonate immune system might account for the type 2 bias in neonates, providing a basis for the high disease susceptibility of newborns, for instance to allergic diseases.

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