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J Immunol. 1997 Sep 1;159(5):2484-91.

Repeated elicitation of contact hypersensitivity induces a shift in cutaneous cytokine milieu from a T helper cell type 1 to a T helper cell type 2 profile.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


We previously demonstrated that repeated application of 2,4,6-trinitro-1-chlorobenzene resulted in a site-restricted shift in the time course of Ag-specific hypersensitivity responses from a typical delayed-type to an early-type response. Here we demonstrated that the cutaneous microenvironment at the time of Ag presentation to T cells in the elicitation, but not the induction, phase of contact hypersensitivity is responsible for the shift. To investigate the differences in the cutaneous cytokine milieu between the acute and chronic phases of contact hypersensitivity, sequential cytokine dynamics after 2,4,6-trinitro-1-chlorobenzene application were assessed in the acute vs chronic lesions. In the acute lesions, increased mRNA levels for IFN-gamma and IL-2 were rapidly detected at 1 h and remained elevated at 12 h, while mRNA expression for IL-4 and IL-10 was minimally up-regulated between approximately 12 and 24 h. In chronic lesions, high levels of constitutive expression of IL-4 mRNA were observed and IL-10 mRNA was dramatically up-regulated at 1 approximately 3 h in an Ag-specific fashion, whereas the expression of Th1-type cytokines was markedly reduced. Increased mRNA levels for Th2-type cytokines in the chronic lesions was also reflected at the protein level. These results indicate that repeated elicitation with Ag alters the balance of cytokines released locally, with a shift toward Th2-dominated responses, which would represent the natural evolution processes directed toward reducing a more deleterious Th1 response.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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