Allergy Update: T cell subsets in cord blood, maternal allergy and atopic dermatitis.

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

Fu Y, et al.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2013 Mar;24(2):178-186.

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.

Source: Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Beijing TongRen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.

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