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Regulatory T cells in children undergoing rush venom immunotherapy

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Venom immunotherapy (VIT) induces immune tolerance to Hymenoptera venom but the underlying mechanisms are not clarified. Regulatory T cells are thought to play an important role in tolerance induction during specific immunotherapy. Our objective was to determine the effects of rush VIT on the percentage of regulatory T cells and immunosuppressive cytokines interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) in children. Blood samples were collected from 18 children with a previous systemic allergic reaction to a Hymenoptera sting, with a positive skin test and positive specific IgE, before rush VIT, after 6 weeks and 6 months of rush VIT. Ten children with no history of venom allergy were studied as controls. Isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stained with specific markers for regulatory T cells and analyzed by flow cytometry. The percentage of regulatory T cells did not change during rush VIT in children. No change was noticed in the percentage of IL-10 and TGF-beta secreting cells after 6 weeks or 6 months of VIT. No difference in expression of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 on CD4+CD25+high was found. Rush VIT is a safe and effective treatment for patients allergic to Hymenoptera venom. Although regulatory T cells are considered to be responsible for this effect; no significant changes in the percentage of these cells or immunosuppressive cytokines were noticed during rush VIT in children. Additional investigations are needed to clarify the role of regulatory T cells in the induction of tolerance during rush VIT in children.

Keywords: Allergy; Hymenoptera; IgE; children; immunotherapy; interleukin-10; regulatory T cells; sting; transforming growth factor beta-1; venom

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Center Sestre Milosrdnice, Zagreb, Croatia

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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