Cytokine production by peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in atopic childhood asthma

Clin Dev Immunol. 2010;2010:606139. doi: 10.1155/2010/606139. Epub 2010 Dec 8.


There are conflicting studies on T cell cytokine production in childhood asthma. In this study intracellular cytokine expression of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IFN-γ, and TNF-α in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in children with atopic asthma were measured by flow cytometry. Results. A significant increase in the percentage of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells producing IL-4 and IL-13 and decrease in the percentage of CD4(+) producing IFN-γ in asthmatic children was found. The percentage of CD4(+)/IL-13(+) was significantly higher in severe asthma than in children with intermittent disease symptoms. Severity of asthma was associated with increased both serum IgE and frequencies of CD4(+)/IL-13(+) T cells, as well as duration of disease. Moreover, a decrease in FEV(1), FEV(1)/FVC was observed in relation to the severity of asthma. Changes in cytokine profile in CD8(+) subpopulation didn't depend on the severity of the disease. Conclusions. Increased production of IL-4 and IL-13 in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells accompanied by decreased IFN-γ expression in CD4(+) T cells may be evidence that both lymphocyte subpopulations are implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma. Relationship of CD4(+)/IL-13(+) T cells with disease activity suggests that this lymphocyte subset may have a prominent role in childhood asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukins / analysis
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Interleukins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interferon-gamma