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J Immunol. 1998 Feb 15;160(4):2022-7.

Long-lived Th2 clones specific for seasonal and perennial allergens can be detected in blood and skin by their TCR-hypervariable regions.

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Department of General and Experimental Pathology, University of Vienna, Austria.


We investigated the longevity of allergen-specific Th cells derived from patients suffering from either allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis. T cell clones (TCC) specific for seasonal and perennial allergens were raised. To determine whether these TCC were long-lived in vivo, PBMC and allergen-specific polyclonal T cell lines, collected and established inside a period of up to 4 years, were screened for the TCC of interest. For this purpose, a T cell tracing protocol was established in which oligonucleotides specific for the TCR beta-chain hypervariable junctional region were used as tools to identify each particular TCC. Seven pollen-specific TCC and two house dust mite-specific TCC, with a Th2-like cytokine production pattern in vitro, were demonstrated to be long-lived memory T cells in vivo. Specificity of the tracing protocol was ascertained by TCR sequence analysis. We conclude that allergen-specific TCC can persist for years, evidence for which can be monitored in blood, but also in the target organ of the allergic disorder. The data indicate that in vitro-characterized, allergen-specific, long-lived TCC may well reflect a repertoire of T lymphocytes of pathogenetic importance in vivo.

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