T cell subsets in cord blood are influenced by maternal allergy and associated with atopic dermatitis

Authors

  • Yujing Fu,

    1. Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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    • These authors contributed equally to the study.
  • Hongfei Lou,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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    • These authors contributed equally to the study.
  • Chengshuo Wang,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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  • Wei Lou,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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  • Yang Wang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Ministry of Education of China), Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, Beijing, China
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  • Tao Zheng,

    Corresponding author
    1. Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
    • Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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  • Luo Zhang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Ministry of Education of China), Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, Beijing, China
    • Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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Correspondence

Tao Zheng, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, 2A-20a Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.

Tel.: 410 550 1990

E-mail: tzheng@jhmi.edu

and

Luo Zhang, Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, No. 17, HouGouHuTong, DongCheng District, Beijing100005, China.

Tel.: (8610) 65141136

Fax: (8610) 85115988

E-mail: dr.luozhang@gmail.com

Abstract

Background

This study aimed to investigate the influence of maternal allergy on cord blood regulatory and effector T cells and to evaluate their role as a predictor of atopic dermatitis (AD) during the first 2 yr of life.

Methods

Seventy mother–infant pairs were recruited in this prospective birth cohort study (21 allergic and 49 non-allergic mothers). Cord blood samples were collected and assayed for the percentage of regulatory T cells (Treg), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and interleukin-4 (IL-4) producing T cells (Th1 and Th2, respectively) using flow cytometry. Experiments were undertaken to assess the function of cord blood CD4+CD25+CD127 Treg cells by cell proliferation and cytokine responses. Their offspring at the age of 2 yr old were evaluated by dermatologists to determine whether they had AD.

Results

During the first 2 yr of life, 15.7% of the children developed a physician-diagnosed AD. A significantly increased percentage of Th2 cell was observed in cord blood of newborns with maternal allergy. Treg/Th2 ratio significantly decreased among the offspring of allergic mothers. Treg cell-associated suppression of Th2 response was attenuated in Der p1-stimulated CD4+CD25 T cells from the offspring of allergic mothers. Children with reduced Th1/Th2 (p = 0.001, OR = 0.37) and Treg/Th2 (p = 0.001, OR = 0.47) ratio in cord blood had a higher risk of developing AD.

Conclusion

Maternal allergic status is associated with increased percentage of IL-4+CD4+ T cells and a reduced Treg/Th2 ratio in cord blood at their children's birth, which may predispose to an increased risk for developing AD.

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