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Allergy. 2002 Feb;57(2):129-36.

T cell reactivity in neonates from an East and a West German city--results of the LISA study.

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Department of Human Exposure Research and Epidemiology, UFZ-Center for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle Ltd, Leipzig, Germany.



Within an ongoing birth cohort study (LISA) the cytokine production of cord blood T cells was compared between neonates from Leipzig (East Germany) and Munich (West Germany). The aim of this study was to analyse regional differences and influencing factors of the immune status.


Cytokine production was measured in a randomly selected subgroup of 158 children from the LISA (Life style - Immune system - Allergy) cohort by intracellular cytokine staining. Information on family "atopy" history (FAH) and home characteristics was obtained from questionnaires.


Reduced numbers of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) producing T cells were found in association with biparental FAH and housing renovation during pregnancy. In addition, cytokine production was influenced by season. In Munich, the frequency of biparental FAH and of renovation measures during pregnancy was significantly higher as compared to Leipzig. Neonates from Munich showed significantly decreased amounts of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha and elevated levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4) producing T cells. Differences in cytokine production between Munich and Leipzig were influenced by season (IL-4) and housing renovation (IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha).


Since differences in the T cell cytokine production of neonates in Munich and Leipzig are independent from FAH our findings may provide evidence for the impact of environmental factors upon the fetal immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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