Participation of CD161+ and invariant natural killer T cells in pediatric asthma exacerbations

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Abstract:

Asthma has been defined as a disease of chronic airway inflammation in which many cells and cellular products participate with variable degrees of airflow obstruction and hyperresponsiveness that lead to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Prominent among these cellular elements are two cell types referred to as the invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells and a subpopulation of T cells expressing the molecule CD161, which are both thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma. Although the presence of iNKT and other CD161+ cells in murine models has been associated with asthma, relatively few studies have been performed in the adult patient with asthma that have been often conflicting and even fewer studies are available in children. The present study was performed to investigate the peripheral blood frequencies of iNKT and CD161+ T cells in children with asthma. A total of 35 children, 19 stable asthmatic patients, 6 who had experienced an asthmatic attack within 24 hours and had not received any treatment, and 10 healthy controls, aged 6‐12 years, were enrolled in the study. iNKT and CD161+ T-cell frequencies in blood were measured together with quantitative levels of IL-4 and interferon (IFN) γ using a cytofluorimetric approach. The results show that iNKT cells are increased in pediatric asthmatic patients undergoing exacerbations of asthma. These cells also produced less IFN-γ and more IL-4 than children with stable asthma and in healthy control children. These results suggest that iNKT cells might participate in the development of the asthmatic exacerbations. The increased production of IL-4 in conjunction with the decrease of IFN-γ may be mechanistically responsible, at least partially, for the heightening of the immunologic response leading to the asthmatic attack in children. Knowledge of these interactive mechanisms involving the iNKT cell and our understanding of its role in the exacerbation of asthma hold great promise in the development of better diagnostic predictive markers of disease progression as well as new forms of therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: Asthma; CD161+ cells; CD4+ cells; IFN-γ; IL-4; T cells; asthma exacerbation; asthmatic attack; iNKT cells

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/aap.2013.34.3619

Affiliations: Departamento de Investigaciones Inmunológicas, Instituto de Diagnóstico y Referencia Epidemiológicos, Mexico City, Mexico

Publication date: January 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • 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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