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J Immunol. 2009 Mar 1;182(5):3285-93. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0711996.

Th1/Th2 patterns and balance in cytokine production in the parents and infants of a large birth cohort.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA. mhalonen@arc.arizona.edu

Abstract

Regulation of human immune cell cytokine production in vivo is not well understood due in part to limitations on imposing experimental conditions. We proposed that life-imposed conditions (pregnancy, birth, age, gender), combined with large sample size, repeat sampling, and family-based recruitment would serve to reveal peripheral blood cell-derived cytokine patterns reflective of in vivo regulation regarding Th1/Th2 balance and familial correlation. Mononuclear cells were obtained from 483 trios in the Tucson Infant Immune Study: from mothers pre- and postpartum, infants at birth and at 3 mo, and fathers. Con A/PMA-stimulated supernatants were assayed by ELISA for IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-13, IL-5, and IL-10 and allergen-stimulated supernatants for IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-13. Mitogen-stimulated prepartum samples were not globally Th2 biased, differing from postpartum only by a modestly reduced IFN-gamma:IL-5 ratio. Prepartum samples actually produced less IL-10 and IL-13 although more IL-5 than paternal samples. Newborns were also not globally Th2 biased, with mitogen stimulation producing approximately 10-fold less IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma than adults but only 2- to 3-fold less IL-13 and IL-10. Despite these group differences, all cytokines showed marked positive intraindividual correlations (all p < 0.001). Allergen stimulation gave results consistent with a lack of global Th2 bias. Mitogen stimulation revealed parent-child and parent-parent correlations. Thus, rather than a global Th2 bias, cytokine production in pregnant mothers and newborns appears regulated so as to maintain a relative balance among the cytokines, with the nature of the balance differing in mothers and infants and with production influenced by familial factors that include shared environment.

PMID:
19234227
DOI:
10.4049/jimmunol.0711996
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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