Polarized human T helper (Th) cells play a key role in the network of the specific immune system compartments. Cell-mediated immune response depends on activation of Th1-type cells, typically producing and releasing interferon-gamma and interleukin-2, whereas activation of Th2-type cells and production of cytokines such as interleukin-4, -5, and -10 are involved in humoral immune response and the production of immunoglobulins. Increased amounts of neopterin are produced during the Th1-type immune response by human monocytes/macrophages upon stimulation with the Th1-derived cytokine interferon-gamma, and thus the determination of neopterin concentrations allows us to monitor Th1-type immune response. We compared serum concentrations of neopterin with immunoglobulin E (IgE), a typical product of the Th2-type immune response, in order to examine the relationship between Th1-type and Th2-type immune system stimulation in 709 healthy outpatients, who visited the physician's office for a medical health checkup. Eleven percent presented with serum neopterin concentrations >8.7 nmol/L; 26% had increased serum concentrations of IgE (>100 kIU/L). There existed an inverse correlation between serum neopterin and IgE concentrations (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient: r(s) = -0.100; P < 0.01) which was stronger when excluding data < or = 8.7 nmol/L neopterin and < or = 100 kIU/L IgE (n = 246; r(s) = -0.519; P < 0.0001). Data indicate that increased serum neopterin concentrations are associated with low serum IgE and increased serum IgE with low serum neopterin concentrations. This finding fully agrees with the current understanding that in humans the activation of Th1 and Th2 cell-mediated immune responses are down-regulating each other.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.