Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Nov;39(5):529-35.

Cow's milk allergy in infants with atopic eczema is associated with aberrant production of interleukin-4 during oral cow's milk challenge.

Author information

  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.



A failure in the establishment and maintenance of oral tolerance in infancy may result in food allergy. To further assess the role of the intestinal immune system in cow's milk allergy (CMA), we investigated the systemic production of the pro-allergenic Th2 cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 and anti-allergenic cytokines IL-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and TGF-beta2 in infants suffering from atopic eczema with and without CMA during antigen elimination diet and oral antigen exposure.


18 infants (mean age, 9.6 months; 95% confidence interval 8.1-11.1 months) with atopic eczema and CMA and 17 infants (mean age, 9.7 months; 95% confidence interval 8.6-10.9 months) with atopic eczema tolerant to milk as assessed by a double blind, placebo-controlled cow's milk challenge were investigated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained during antigen elimination diet and during oral cow's milk challenge and stimulated with Concanavalin-A or cow's milk or were left unstimulated. The cytokine concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


During antigen elimination, the Concanavalin A-stimulated production of TGF-beta2 was significantly lower in infants with CMA as compared with infants without CMA: 129 pg/mL (interquartile ratio, 124-144 pg/mL) vs. 149 pg/mL (interquartile ratio, 133-169 pg/mL); P = 0.016. During oral antigen exposure, the immune responses in infants with CMA were characterized by significantly higher spontaneous production of IL-4 as compared with those without CMA: 12.0 pg/mL (interquartile ratio, 5.2-28.3 pg/mL) vs. 4.2 pg/mL (interquartile ratio, 1.5-7.6 pg/mL); P = 0.018.


Infants with atopic eczema and CMA exhibit markedly increased systemic pro-allergenic IL-4 responses on intestinal antigen contact, which may partially be explained by a defective ability to launch anti-allergenic TGF-beta2 responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center