Funding sources Department of Dermatology and Venereology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Clinical and Laboratory Investigations
T-helper and regulatory T-cell cytokines in the peripheral blood of patients with active alopecia areata
Article first published online: 30 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors BJD © 2013 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 169, Issue 3, pages 543–548, September 2013
How to Cite
Tembhre, M.K. and Sharma, V.K. (2013), T-helper and regulatory T-cell cytokines in the peripheral blood of patients with active alopecia areata. British Journal of Dermatology, 169: 543–548. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12396
Conflicts of interest None declared.
- Issue published online: 30 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 30 AUG 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 22 APR 2013 10:25AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 APR 2013
- India Institute of Medical Sciences
Alteration in T-lymphocyte function and cytokines secreted by T-cell subsets has been proposed in the immunopathogenesis of alopecia areata (AA). The role of T-helper and regulatory T-cell cytokines in the pathogenesis of active AA has not been established.
To assess the role of hallmark cytokines of T-helper cells (Th1, Th2 and Th17) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the pathogenesis of AA, and its clinical correlation.
Fifty-one patients with AA and 45 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects were included in the study. Serum interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17A and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in both groups. Correlation of serum cytokine levels with age, sex, disease subtype and duration, number of patches on the scalp, associated autoimmune disorders and atopy was studied.
The serum cytokine levels of IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-13 and IL-17A were significantly increased, and serum TGF-β1 levels were significantly decreased (P < 0·05) in patients with AA compared with controls. Serum IL-2 levels were significantly different among AA subgroups (P < 0·05). IL-2 levels were positively correlated with the total disease duration and the number of patches on the scalp.
The increased levels of serum IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-13 and IL-17A suggested altered T-helper cell function, and reduced serum TGF-β1 levels suggested a defect in Treg function. Therefore, enhanced T-cell-mediated immunity and breakdown of immune tolerance due to deficiency in Tregs may facilitate the occurrence of AA.