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Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 Nov;36(11):1408-16.

Association of neuropeptides with Th1/Th2 balance and allergic sensitization in children.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Immunology, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig, Germany. gunda.herberth@ufz.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Among neurogenic factors, the neuropeptides have an important regulatory influence on immune system activity and may lead to allergic sensitization.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of our study was to investigate the relationship of the neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), somatostatin (SOM) and substance P (SP) on modulation of Th1/Th2 balance and allergic sensitization in children.

METHODS:

Within the LISAplus (Life style-Immune system-Allergy) study, blood samples of 321 six-year-old children were analysed for concentration of neuropeptides, Th1 and Th2 cytokines, transcription factors for T cell regulation and suppressors of cytokine signalling. In addition, samples were screened for specific IgE against inhalant and food allergens.

RESULTS:

Children with high SOM values showed a Th2 polarization and a reduced expression of FOXP3, the marker for regulatory T cells. High (VIP) levels correlated inversely with the expression of T cell transcription factors (Tbet and SOCS3). In contrast, elevated levels of SP were associated with reduced GATA3 and SOCS3 expression and with increased IFN-gamma concentrations. Allergic sensitization was more prevalent in children with higher SOM and VIP concentrations but not associated with SP levels.

CONCLUSION:

Our data reveal an association between neuropeptides and modulatory effects on immune cells in vivo, especially on Th1/Th2 balance with a correlation to allergic sensitization in children. We suggest that elevated SOM and VIP concentrations and the inducing factors should be considered as allergy risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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