Increased interleukin-4 and decreased interferon gamma production in children with asthma: Function of atopy or asthma?

Akpinarli A., Guc D., Kalayci O., Yigitbas E., Ozon A.

JOURNAL OF ASTHMA, vol.39, no.2, pp.159-165, 2002 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Doi Number: 10.1081/jas-120002197
  • Journal Name: JOURNAL OF ASTHMA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.159-165
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Both atopy and asthma are claimed to be associated with a Th-2 cytokine pattern. We sought to determine the contribution of atopy and asthma to the observed Th-2/Th-1 imbalance in these conditions. Of 60 children aged 6-16 years that were included in the study, 13 were nonatopic nonasthmatic, 15 atopic nonasthmatic, 14 nonatopic asthmatic, and 18 atopic asthmatic. Atopic children had positive skin prick tests to grass pollens only. All children were studied after an asymptomatic and drug-free period of at least three months. Total IgE was measured in serum. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were cultured and stimulated in vitro with phytohemagglutinin and interferongamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) measured in the supernatants. Total IgE was significantly, higher in atopic asthmatics compared to nonatopic asthmatics (p = 0.004), and nonatopic nonasthmatics (p = 0.001), but was not different from atopic nonasthmatics (p > 0.05). On the other hand, IL-4 was significantly elevated in atopic asthmatics and in nonatopic asthmatics compared to nonatopic nonasthmatics (p = 0.037 and p = 0.009, respectively). Although atopic asthmatics had lower IFN-gamma values than nonatopic asthmatics, the difference did not reach statistical significance. No correlation was detected between any two parameters. Our results suggest that both atopy and asthma contribute to the increased levels of IL-4 and that, whereas nonatopic asthma is associated with increases in both IL-4 and IFN-gamma release by mononuclear cells, only atopic asthma is characterized by a Th-2 type cytokine dominance.