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The late asthmatic response is associated with baseline allergen-specific proliferative responsiveness of peripheral T lymphocytes in vitro and serum interleukin-5

Authors


van der Zee Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Department of Pulmonology, F4–208, PO Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Background

Increasing insights into the mechanism underlying the allergen-induced late asthmatic response (LAR) have been gained with implication of activated eosinophils and CD4+ T lymphocytes. However, the patient characteristics that indicate the individual capacity to develop a LAR are not well-defined.

Methods

In 22 subjects with mild to moderate house dust mite-allergic asthma, we investigated the relationship between the LAR and two other models of late-phase allergic inflammation, i.e. the allergen-specific proliferative response of peripheral blood T lymphocytes in vitro and the late cutaneous response. Non-specific bronchial responsiveness (PC20 histamine), lung function (FEV1), peripheral blood eosinophil count, early phase allergic skin sensitivity, and levels of total and specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) were determined prior to bronchial allergen challenge. Serum levels of interleukin-5 (IL-5) were measured before and at several time points after allergen inhalation.

Results

A significant correlation was found between the magnitude of the LAR and the allergen-specific proliferative response of peripheral T lymphocytes (r = 0.44, P = 0.04) but not the late cutaneous response. Stepwise-multiple linear regression of the magnitude of the LAR on the parameters analysed at baseline, resulted in a model combining PC20 histamine, early phase allergic skin sensitivity, and the allergen-specific proliferative response of peripheral T lymphocytes (R2 = 0.84, P < 0.001). No contribution of the late cutaneous response to the prediction of the LAR was found. Serum levels of IL-5 increased significantly at 6 h (P = 0.01) and 24 h (P = 0.003) after bronchial allergen challenge and correlated with the allergen-specific proliferative response of peripheral T lymphocytes in vitro (ρ = 0.48, P = 0.02).

Conclusions

The findings in this study point to a role of TH2-lymphocyte responses in the development of the allergen-induced LAR. In allergic asthmatic patients, allergen-specific responsiveness of peripheral T-lymphocytes in vitro may serve as a model to determine the individual capacity to develop a LAR after allergen inhalation.

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