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J Immunol. 1991 Aug 1;147(3):816-22.

Eosinophil activation and T lymphocyte infiltration in allergen-induced late phase skin reactions and classical delayed-type hypersensitivity.

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Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart & Lung Institute, London, England.


T lymphocyte infiltration is a well documented feature of classical delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions. Recently, we have shown that T lymphocytes and activated (EG2+) eosinophils accumulate in the allergen-induced late phase skin reaction (LPR). To compare the kinetics and phenotypic composition of these T lymphocyte responses, LPR and DTH reactions of comparable induration size were induced in atopic subjects. In addition, DTH and LPR were compared between atopic and nonatopic subjects. In atopic individuals, allergen challenge elicited a perivascular influx of T lymphocytes that was predominantly CD4+. Eosinophil accumulation and activation were also prominent. There was no cellular response to allergen challenge in the nonatropic group. In both groups, DTH responses showed an intense T cell infiltrate which was more dense and dispersed than in the LPR. CD4+ T cells predominated but at 48 h CD8+ numbers were also significantly increased. In DTH, total leukocyte numbers (CD45+) were increasing at 48 h, whereas in the LPR, cell numbers reached a plateau between 24 and 48 h. T cell activation (shown by expression of IL-2R) was more prominent in DTH. Endothelial expression of HLA-DR was increased in both LPR and DTH, implying the local release of inflammatory cytokines in both reactions. Small but significant numbers of activated eosinophils (EG2+) were detected in atopics and non-atopics at 24 h in DTH but not at 48 h. These findings suggest that the allergen-induced LPR induced in atopic subjects is, at least in part, a form of cell-mediated hypersensitivity but with T cell kinetics that differ from classical DTH.

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