Get access

Age-related changes in intracellular cytokine profiles and Th2 dominance in allergic children


Norio Kawamoto, Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu University, Yanagido 1-1, Gifu 501-1194, Japan
Tel.: +81 58 230 6386
Fax: +81 58 230 6387


The unbalanced T helper response has been pointed out in allergic diseases. Especially in childhood, it is important to consider the development of acquired immunity. We investigated the relationship between age and Th1, Th2, Tc1 or Tc2 cells. In addition, Th1, Th2, Tc1 or Tc2 cells in allergic diseases were compared with control subjects. Thirty-four healthy controls (0–40 years old), 200 samples of cord blood, nine patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) (1–3 years old) and five patients with bronchial asthma (BA) (2–6 years old) were studied. Surface staining with CD4, CD8 and intracellular staining with anti-interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and anti-interleukin (IL)-4 were carried out, and analyzed by using flow cytometry. In the healthy controls, the percentages of Th1, Tc1 or Th2 showed positive correlation with age. The absolute numbers of Th1 or Tc1 also correlated with age. Cord blood with a family history of allergic disease showed no significant difference compared to that without a family history. The percentage of Th2 in AD and BA patients was significantly higher than in the age-matched healthy controls. The increase in Th1, Th2 and Tc1 with age might reflect on the development of acquired immunity. Age matching is important when evaluating the cytokine profiles of T cells. In allergic diseases, although cord blood showed a Th1-dominant pattern, it changed to Th2 dominance in childhood, and this may reflect on some genetic background.