Double phenotyping of immunoregulatory T cell subsets in patients with allergic asthma


Dr Serge Kochman, Laboratoire de physiopathologie respiratoire et d'allergologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 45 rue Cognacq-Jay, 51090 Reims, France.


In order to determine whether the dissection of helper/inducer (CD4 +) and suppressor/cytotoxic (CD8 +) lymphocyte subsets with Leu 8 reagent would reveal any differences between allergic asthma patients and non-atopic controls, we compared in both groups the ‘true helper’ T cell subset (Leu 8 - CD4 +), responsible for the major helper effect, and one of the suppressor T cell subpopulations (Leu 8 - CD8 +). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from sixty-nine individuals, including nineteen extrinsic asthmatics, fifteen intrinsic asthmatics, seventeen patients with chronic obstructive lung disease and eighteen healthy controls, were comparatively analysed. Although total CD4 + cells and total CD8 + cells were similar for all groups, we found in the extrinsic asthma patients group a significant increase in the number of ‘true helper’ T cell sublineage (Leu 8 - CD4 +) and of suppressor cells expressing Leu 8 - CD8 + phenotype. Such imbalances may be implicated in the pathogenesis of atopic asthma.