Format of Original
Mary Ann Liebery Inc.
Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Original Item ID
T cell cytokines play an important role in mediating airway inflammation in asthma. The predominance of a Th2 cytokine profile, particularly interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5, is associated with the pathogenesis and course of asthma. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that a stressful life event alters the pattern of cytokine release in asthmatic individuals. Thirteen healthy controls and 21 asthmatic adolescents gave blood samples three times over a semester: midsemester, during the week of final examinations, and 2-3 weeks after examinations. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-2, IL-4, and IL-5 were measured from supernatants of cells stimulated with PHA/PMA for 24 h. Cells from asthmatic subjects released significantly more IL-5 during the examination and postexamination periods, whereas cells from healthy controls released significantly more IL-2 during the midsemester and examination periods, thereby indicating a bias for a Th2-like pattern in asthmatics and a Th 1-like pattern in healthy controls. IL-4 and IL-5 production showed a marked decrease during and after examinations in healthy controls, whereas this decline was absent in asthmatics. The ratios of IFN-γ:IL-4 and IFN-γ:IL-5 also revealed significant changes in the profile of cytokine release across the semester. These results indicate differential cytokine responses in asthmatics that may become pronounced during periods of cellular activation.