Patterns of food allergen-specific cytokine production by T lymphocytes of children with multiple allergies

Authors

  • T. H. Scott-Taylor,

    1. Division of Immunobiology, Institute of Child Health, London, UK,
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  • J. B. Hourihane,

    1. Division of Immunobiology, Institute of Child Health, London, UK,
    2. Division of Infection, Inflammation and Repair, University of Southampton, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton, UK,
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  • J. Harper,

    1. Department of Dermatology, Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK
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  • S. Strobel

    1. Division of Immunobiology, Institute of Child Health, London, UK,
    2. Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, Peninsula Medical School and Peninsula Postgraduate Health Institute, Plymouth, Devon, UK
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Tim Scott-Taylor, Department of Clinical Immunology, Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, Pond Street, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG, UK.
E-mail: t.scott-taylor@medsch.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Background The contribution of different T cell subsets to the overall measured cytokine response to food allergens is largely unexplored.

Method The patterns of cytokine production of peripheral blood-derived T cells after allergen stimulation were studied in 22 children with multiple food allergies and in 20 non-allergic children as controls, using flow cytometry.

Results Proportions of T cells of food-sensitized children spontaneously secreting IFN-γ and IL-10 (without antigen stimulation) were lower than non-atopic children and adult controls (Pleqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant0.001). The proportions of IL-4-producing cells in vitro were significantly increased (Pleqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant0.04) and IFN-γ-producing cells were significantly reduced (Pleqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant0.05) in sensitized children after incubation with and without dendritic cell presentation of peanut extract, β-lactoglobulin and ovalbumin. The reverse pattern was found in non-sensitized children and adult controls. IL-4 secretion in allergic children to sensitizing allergens was mainly restricted to the CD4+ CD45 RO+ population while in non-atopic controls both CD4+ and CD8+ CD45 RO+ cells produced mostly IFN-γ. Food-specific IgE values did not correspond with cytokine responses but IL-4 production and IFN-γ reduction relative to normal children were closely associated with total IgE levels.

Conclusion Food-allergic children's IL-4 cytokine response to their relevant allergens is predominantly from a memory population of CD4+ CD45 RO+ cells, whereas IL-4 and IFN-γ secretion of non-allergic controls was predominantly from mixed CD4+ and CD8+ CD45 RO+ populations.

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