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Allergy. 2015 Mar;70(3):310-8. doi: 10.1111/all.12558. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Th17- and Treg-related cytokine and mRNA expression are associated with acute and resolving Kawasaki disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Kawasaki Disease Center, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



Kawasaki disease is a vasculitis most commonly afflicting children <5 years of age. Many autoimmune diseases are associated with up-regulation of T helper (Th) 17 cells, and down-regulation Treg cells. Few studies have examined the Th17/Treg expression in Kawasaki disease.


Blood samples were obtained from 186 children with Kawasaki disease at 24 h before IVIG therapy, followed by 3 days and 21 days after IVIG therapy. Thirty children with an acute febrile infectious disease and 30 healthy children were obtained as control. Plasma levels of Th17- and Treg-related cytokines including IL-6, IL-17A, IL-10, TGF-β, and mRNA expression levels of RORγt and Foxp3 were tested.


Patients with Kawasaki disease had higher levels of plasma IL-17A (25.35 ± 3.21 vs 7.78 ± 1.78 pg/ml, P < 0.001) and IL-6 (152.29 ± 21.94 vs 38.63 ± 12.40 pg/ml, P < 0.001) when compared to the febrile control group. IVIG resulted in a reduction in IL-6 and IL-17A at both 3 and 21 days after IVIG therapy. FoxP3 levels increased significantly 3 days after IVIG therapy (2.28 ± 0.34 vs 0.88 ± 0.14, P < 0.001). IVIG resistance was associated with higher levels of IL-10 and IL-17A.


Kawasaki disease was associated with higher IL-17A and IL-6, a cytokine profile similar to other autoimmune diseases. IVIG therapy resulted in increased expression of Treg-related FoxP3. IVIG resistance was associated with higher levels of IL-10 and IL-17A. Our findings provide further evidence that Kawasaki disease is an autoimmune-like disease.


Kawasaki disease; T-helper 17 cells; cytokines; intravenous immunoglobulin resistance; regulatory T cells

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