Background: The pathogenesis of asthma involves hyperreactivity and chronic inflammation of airways in which CD4+ T cells play a major role. In atopic asthmatics, Th1 responses due to interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) are depressed, and Th2 responses due to interleukins IL-4, IL-10) are predominant. It is not clear if cytokine secretion patterns change with clinical improvement during immunotherapy. Objectives: Monitoring IFN-γ and IL-10 may be very useful in evaluating the effectiveness and response to allergen immunotherapy and in developing new therapeutic interventions with specific cytokine antagonists or peptides. Materials and Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from healthy nonasthmatic controls (N = 5) and from atopic asthmatic patients (N = 5) prior to immunotherapy and at 3 and 6 months after initiation of inmunotherapy to monitor cytokine secretion (IFN-γ, IL-10)) in unstimulated and grass and ragweed allergen-specific stimulated mononuclear cells. Changes in cytokine secretions were related to clinical response to immunotherapy. Results: Controls had significantly higher mean IFN-γ secretion compared to asthmatics (P < 0.01). Mean IL-10 secretion was lower in controls than in asthmatics, but significant levels were noted only with grass allergen (P < 0.03). In asthmatics, 3 months after starting immunotherapy mean IFN-γ secretion significantly increased (P < 0.01) in both stimulated and unstimulated cells, which persisted at 6 months. Although there was no significant change in IL-10 secretion at 3 months, mean IL-10 secretion at 6 months was significantly decreased in allergen-stimulated cells (P < 0.02). Conclusion: In atopic asthmatics, mean IFN-γ secretion significantly increased and allergen-specific IL-10 secretion was significantly decreased during immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine