The immune response to chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients is predominantly of the Th2 type
Most cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection have a persistent acute type lung inflammation dominated by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and a pronounced antibody response against P. aeruginosa. We speculated whether this immune response in CF is of the Th2 type and whether a change to a Th1 type immune response could improve the prognosis. Therefore, we studied 14 CF patients with (CF +P) and 14 CF patients without (CF −P) chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection. The specific production of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was determined. Cells from CF +P patients had lower IFN-γ (p<0.05) and higher IL-4 (p<0.005) production as compared to cells from CF −P patients. Furthermore, a positive correlation between IFN-γ production and lung function was found (FVC: Rho=0.637; p<0.03; FEV1: Rho=0.524; p<0.07). We conclude that a Th2 type immune response is most frequent in CF patients with chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection, and the patients with a Th1-dominated immune response had the best lung function. The clinical implication is that a change to a Th1 type immune response might improve the prognosis in these patients.
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