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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Oct-Dec;26(4):627-39.

Phenotypic characterization of ex vivo CD4+CD25highCD127low immune regulatory T cells in allergic asthma: pathogenesis relevance of their FoxP3, GITR, CTLA-4 and FAS expressions.

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Department of Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.



CD4+CD25high regulatory T (Treg) cells are crucial for immune homeostasis and peripheral tolerance, but their relevance to allergic asthma has not been fully elucidated.


To assess peripheral blood CD4+ T cells, and CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells expressing phenotypic markers (FoxP3, GITR, CTLA-4, and FAS) in allergic asthma subjects.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 60 allergic asthma (AA) subjects and 30 healthy controls (HC). We examined by flow cytometry, the proportion of CD4+ T cells and CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells as well as the expression of FoxP3, GITR, CTLA-4, and FAS by CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells. Moreover, FOXP3 mRNA expression was measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR).


The absolute number of CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells and the percentages of CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells expressing one of the four selected markers were significantly lower in allergic asthma subjects compared with controls. We observed no significant decreased absolute CD4+ T cell count in the examined groups compared to the control group. Except for GITR, circulatory CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells of severe allergic asthma (SA) subjects showed significantly lower expressions of FoxP3, CTLA-4, and CD95 than did those isolated from mild to moderate asthma (MA) patients. There was no statistically significant difference in the level of mRNA FoxP3 expression in CD4+CD25+ Treg cells between allergic asthma subjects and healthy controls groups, and within the examined groups (p>0.05).


These findings suggest that allergic asthma and the use of glucocorticosteroids are associated with decreased absolute number of circulatory CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells and the decreased frequencies of CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg cells expressing one of the four selected markers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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