The immune response to chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients is predominantly of the Th2 type

APMIS. 2000 May;108(5):329-35. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0463.2000.d01-64.x.


Most cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection have a persistent acute type lung inflammation dominated by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and a pronounced antibody response against P. aeruginosa. We speculated whether this immune response in CF is of the Th2 type and whether a change to a Th1 type immune response could improve the prognosis. Therefore, we studied 14 CF patients with (CF +P) and 14 CF patients without (CF -P) chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection. The specific production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was determined. Cells from CF +P patients had lower IFN-gamma (p<0.05) and higher IL-4 (p<0.005) production as compared to cells from CF -P patients. Furthermore, a positive correlation between IFN-gamma production and lung function was found (FVC: Rho = 0.637; p<0.03; FEV1: Rho=0.524; p<0.07). We conclude that a Th2 type immune response is most frequent in CF patients with chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection, and the patients with a Th1-dominated immune response had the best lung function. The clinical implication is that a change to a Th1 type immune response might improve the prognosis in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases / immunology*
  • Male
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma