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Clin Exp Allergy. 2005 Nov;35(11):1473-80.

Patterns of food allergen-specific cytokine production by T lymphocytes of children with multiple allergies.

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  • 1Division of Immunobiology, Institute of Child Health, London, UK.



The contribution of different T cell subsets to the overall measured cytokine response to food allergens is largely unexplored.


The patterns of cytokine production of peripheral blood-derived T cells after allergen stimulation were studied in 22 children with multiple food allergies and in 20 non-allergic children as controls, using flow cytometry.


Proportions of T cells of food-sensitized children spontaneously secreting IFN-gamma and IL-10 (without antigen stimulation) were lower than non-atopic children and adult controls (P<or=0.001). The proportions of IL-4-producing cells in vitro were significantly increased (P<or=0.04) and IFN-gamma-producing cells were significantly reduced (P<or=0.05) in sensitized children after incubation with and without dendritic cell presentation of peanut extract, beta-lactoglobulin and ovalbumin. The reverse pattern was found in non-sensitized children and adult controls. IL-4 secretion in allergic children to sensitizing allergens was mainly restricted to the CD4(+) CD45 RO(+) population while in non-atopic controls both CD4(+) and CD8(+) CD45 RO(+) cells produced mostly IFN-gamma. Food-specific IgE values did not correspond with cytokine responses but IL-4 production and IFN-gamma reduction relative to normal children were closely associated with total IgE levels.


Food-allergic children's IL-4 cytokine response to their relevant allergens is predominantly from a memory population of CD4(+) CD45 RO(+) cells, whereas IL-4 and IFN-gamma secretion of non-allergic controls was predominantly from mixed CD4(+) and CD8(+) CD45 RO(+) populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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