We investigated the effect of elimination diets on T cell responses to ovalbumin (OA) in hen's egg-sensitive atopic dermatitis (AD) patients. The proliferative responses of both peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and T cells with monocytes to OA decreased after elimination diets, but those to Candida albicans or phytohemagglutinin (PHA) did not decrease after elimination diets. The proliferative responses of CD4+ T cells with monocytes to OA decreased after elimination diets. In these patients, clinical symptoms of AD improved. These results indicate that T cells, especially CD4+ T cells, respond to food antigens in food-specific lymphocyte responses, and that elimination diets may be able to initiate reduction of the responsiveness of food-sensitive T cells, especially CD4+ T cells. Moreover, the surface marker phenotypes of the T cells responding to OA were analysed. Our results showed that CD4+CD45RA+ T cells tended to increase. The increase in circulating CD4+CD45RA+ T cells might function as systemic suppression against immune responses in the skin.
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