Background: The imbalance between Th2 and Treg cells plays fundamental role in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. The current study aimed at assessing the expression of some Th2 and Treg cell-related parameters in patients with allergic asthma.
Material and methods: The serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples were collected from 30 patients with asthma and 36 healthy subjects. The serum levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, interleukin (IL)-4, as well as the expression levels of GATA3 and FOXP3 genes in PBMCs were determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. The PBMCs were cultured for 48 hours with/without phytohemagglutinin (PHA) stimulation. The TGF-β and IL-4 levels in supernatants were also determined.
Results: The serum levels of IL-4, the expression level of GATA3, and GATA3/FOXP3 ratio in patients with asthma were significantly higher than healthy subjects (P <0.002, P <0.001, and P <0.004, respectively). The FOXP3 expression did no differ between the two groups. The serum level of TGF-β as well as its secretion profile in non-stimulated and stimulated PBMCs isolated from patients with asthma were significantly higher than those of the controls (P <0.03, P <0.001, and P <0.001, respectively). The serum TGF-β levels in severe asthma were significantly higher than moderate asthma; whereas the TGF-β secretion by PHA-stimulated PBMCs isolated from moderate asthma was higher than that of severe pattern of the disease (P <0.001 and P <0.05, respectively). The GTAT3/FOXP3 expression ratio in moderate asthma was significantly higher than severe form (P <0.04).
Conclusion: The results confirmed a Th2 cell-biased pattern and possible contribution of TGF-β in allergic asthma. TGF-β may have different expression patterns in moderate and severe asthma and the two forms of the disease may have differences in some main immunological parameters.
Keywords: Allergic Asthma; FOXP3; Th2; Transcription Factors, GATA3; Treg.