Progressive polarization towards a T helper/cytotoxic type-1 cytokine pattern during age-dependent maturation of the immune response inversely correlates with CD30 cell expression and serum concentration

Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Aug;117(2):291-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1999.00977.x.


In order to investigate the T cell cytokine profile during age-dependent maturation of the immune response, we evaluated the cytokine expression of CD4+ and CD8+ circulating cells by flow cytometric single-cell analysis after non-specific stimulation in vitro in different age groups of normal individuals, from cord blood to adulthood. Moreover, we correlated these lymphocyte cytokine patterns with the expression/release of CD30, a member of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily, which has been suggested to be related to the T helper/cytotoxic (Th(c))2-type immune responses, in order to verify this association in vivo, in non-pathological conditions. The results showed a progressive increase of circulating Th(c)1-type, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)- and/or IL-2-producing T cells along with ageing and, conversely, a stable number, although higher than in cord blood samples, of CD4+/IL-4+ T cells in the post-natal groups. In addition, serum levels of soluble CD30 (sCD30) and numbers of circulating CD4+/CD30+ and CD8+/CD30+ T cells were significantly higher in children aged < 5 years in comparison with those found either in cord blood or in blood from both older children and adults. These data support the concept of a progressive polarization of the Th(c) cell cytokine profile towards the Th(c)1 pattern during age-dependent maturation of the immune response. Moreover, the peak of CD30 expression/release in early infancy before the Th(c)1 shifting occurs, although not associated with a significant increase of circulating IL-4+ T cells, raises the question of the possible relationship in vivo between CD30 and Th(c)2-type immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Fetal Blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracellular Fluid / immunology
  • Intracellular Fluid / metabolism
  • Ki-1 Antigen / biosynthesis*
  • Ki-1 Antigen / blood*
  • Solubility
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Ki-1 Antigen