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Allergy. 2006 Nov;61(11):1351-7.

Decrease of cytotoxic T cells in allergic asthma correlates with total serum immunglobulin E.

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1
Department of Pneumology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Allergic asthma has been linked to an increase in T-helper type 2-like cytokines and T cells, but there is growing evidence for a role of lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of asthma. Therefore, we investigated the cytotoxic potential of different lymphocyte subpopulations in patients with allergic asthma.

METHODS:

Granzyme A, B, K, and perforin expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes was analyzed using flow cytometry. Soluble granzymes were measured in serum using specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.

RESULTS:

Asthmatics had significantly decreased percentages of granzyme and perforin-positive CD4 T cells compared with non-atopic controls. In patients with asthma, the granzyme B and perforin-positive subset of CD8(+) T cells and natural killer T cells, which represent more differentiated cell populations, were significantly reduced, while this was not observed in the less differentiated granzyme K(+) subsets. In addition, the serum concentrations of granzyme B were significantly reduced in patients with asthma, while granzyme K concentrations were not different. Interestingly, there was a negative correlation between granzyme A, B and perforin expression in T cell subsets as well as serum granzyme B concentrations and total serum immunglobulin E. In CD3-negative natural killer cells, no differences in granzyme or perforin expression between patients with asthma and controls were detected.

CONCLUSION:

In allergic asthma, cytotoxic T lymphocyte subsets of a more differentiated phenotype are significantly decreased and this is correlated to serum immunglobulin E levels.

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