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Allergol Int. 2009 Jun;58(2):155-62. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.08-RAI-0074. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Present situation of cedar pollinosis in Japan and its immune responses.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.


Recent observations have suggested significant worldwide increase in the prevalence of allergic rhinitis and cedar pollinosis. In Japan, Japanese cedar (Cryptometria japonica) and Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) pollens are considered to be the major unique allergens and their extent of dispersal is quite large, travelling more than 100km and thus causing serious pollinosis. Cedar pollinosis is a typical type 1 allergic disease by an adaptive immune response that occurs through the induction of allergen-specific effector T cells from naïve T cells. We examined the number of Japanese cedar pollen specific memory Th cells in the peripheral blood of the patients and found that the cedar pollen specific IL-4-producing Th2 memory cells increased during the pollen season and decreased during the off-season. However, more than 60% of the cedar-specific memory Th2 cells survived up to 8 months after the pollen season. Natural killer T(NKT) cells represent a unique lymphocyte subpopulation and their activity is not restricted to MHC antigens. NKT cells play an important role in innate immunity, however, the participation in development of allergic rhinitis could not be clarified.

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