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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Jun;111(6):1255-61.

Induction of IL-10+CD4+CD25+ T cells by grass pollen immunotherapy.

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Upper Respiratory Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, Dovehouse Street, London SW3 6LY, UK.



Immunotherapy involves the modulation of allergen-specific T-cell responses, either T(H)2-to-T(H)1 immune deviation or, in bee venom-treated patients, induction of IL-10 production by CD4+CD25+ T cells. IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells have emerged as potential mediators of immune tolerance in numerous murine models of immunopathology.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of IL-10 production and CD4+CD25+ T cells in the response to grass pollen immunotherapy.


PBMCs were isolated from patients after 1 year of grass pollen immunotherapy and from matched untreated atopic and healthy control subjects. After 6 days of in vitro stimulation with Phleum pratense, production of IL-10, IL-5, IL-4, and IFN-gamma and proliferation and numbers of CD4+CD25+ T cells were measured. T cells were then stimulated for a further 5 hours with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and ionomycin and assessed for intracellular IL-10 by means of flow cytometry.


Patients undergoing immunotherapy produced significantly more IL-10 than atopic control subjects (patients undergoing immunotherapy, 116 +/- 21 pg/mL [n = 11]; atopic patients, 30 +/- 5 pg/mL [n = 11]; P <.001), and the number of CD4+CD25+ cells identified after allergen stimulation was also greater in the immunotherapy group. The numbers of CD4+CD25+ T cells correlated positively with activation as measured by proliferation in both of the control groups but not in the immunotherapy group. Moreover, only T cells from patients undergoing immunotherapy were positive for intracellular IL-10, and these were almost exclusively CD4+CD25+ cells.


Grass pollen immunotherapy results in a population of circulating T cells that express the IL-10(+) CD4+CD25+ phenotype in response to allergen restimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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