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Pediatr Res. 2002 Feb;51(2):195-200.

Dysregulation of IL-13 production by cord blood CD4+ T cells is associated with the subsequent development of atopic disease in infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Fukui Medical University, Matsuoka-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui, Japan, 910-1193.


Early intervention strategies in allergic diseases will be dependent on identification of newborns at high risk for later development of atopic disease. In this cohort study of 106 neonates, we investigated whether cytokine production property and responsiveness to IL-12 of neonatal CD4(+) T cells were associated with the subsequent development of atopic disease and whether a skewed cytokine production property was intrinsic to helper T cells. To exclude the effects of contaminating cells, highly purified cord blood CD4(+) T cells were stimulated with anti-CD3 MAb and recombinant B7-2 molecule in the presence or absence of IL-12. Production of IL-13 and interferon-gamma was determined by ELISA. The infants were assessed at 12 mo for the development of atopic diseases. CD4(+) T cells of neonates who manifested allergic symptoms (atopic group) produced higher levels of IL-13 compared with those of the nonatopic group in both the presence and absence of IL-12. No significant difference was noted between the two groups with respect to interferon-gamma production. Moreover, higher IL-13 production was also observed in neonates with chronic eczema than those with short-term eczema. Our data suggest that increased production of IL-13 by neonatal CD4(+) T cells is a useful marker of newborns at high risk for subsequent development of atopic diseases and that an intrinsic abnormality of CD4(+) T cell is associated with the pathogeneses of atopic disease, especially atopic dermatitis in infants.

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