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Allergy Asthma Proc. 2006 May-Jun;27(3):197-201.

Effect of tetanus immunization on t-helper cytokine production in adults with and without allergic rhinitis.

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  • 1Dept. of Pediatrics, Allegheny Singer Research Institute, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212, USA.


Epidemiological evidence links T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine responses to the pathogenesis of atopy/asthma. It is hypothesized that certain immunizations may induce/amplify Th2 cytokine responses. The objective of this study was to determine whether Th cytokine responses to immunization with tetanus toxoid differ in adults with and without allergic rhinitis (AR). Thirty subjects were enrolled (15 AR and 15 non-AR subjects as confirmed by history and allergy skin testing). Blood was collected before (day 0) and on days 3, 7, 14, and 28 after immunization with tetanus toxoid. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMNCs) were purified and cultured with either PHA or tetanus toxoid for 2 or 6 days, respectively. Supernatants were harvested and assayed for IFN-gamma and IL-13 levels (pg/mL) by EIA. Results were normalized by log transformation and analyzed by stepwise regression. Baseline (day 0) cytokine values were similar in both groups. PHA and tetanus-induced IFN-gamma were increased (p < 0.05) in non-AR (3.2 +/- 0.3 and 1.4 +/- 0.3 on day 7, and 3.5 +/- 0.2 and 1.9 +/- 0.2 on day 14, respectively) compared with AR subjects (2.3 +/- 0.3 and 0.9 +/- 0.3 on day 7, and 2.7 +/- 0.3 and 1.2 +/- 0.3 on day 14, respectively). PHA-induced, but not tetanus-induced, IL-13 production was increased (p < 0.05) in non-AR compared with AR subjects on day 7 (p < 0.05). PHA-induced IL-13 production was 3.1 +/- 0.2 in non-AR and 2.6 +/- 0.3 in AR subjects on day 7. These results indicate differential Th cytokine responses in AR and non-AR subjects after immunization with tetanus toxoid. Future studies are warranted and may result in the identification of potential prevention/treatment strategies for atopy/asthma.

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