Background: The underlying mechanisms of elevated IgE level in atopic patients are still obscure, however, extensive efforts have been tried to identify an immunological parameter as a predictor of atopy.
Objective: This study compared the difference in cytokine production by cord blood mononuclear cells between new borns with high-risk of allergy (family allergy score, FAS > or = 3) and those with low-risk (FAS = 0).
Methods: Following stimulation with PHA (100 micrograms/mL) and PMA (1 ng/mL), the cytokines produced by cord blood CD4+ T cells in the presence of monocytes were measured by ELISA kits and the mRNA was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique.
Results: Our results showed: CD4+ T cells in the presence of monocytes and isolated monocytes from the high-risk group produced a much greater amount of IL-6, either spontaneously or after stimulation, than did those of the low-risk group; CD4+ T cells of low-risk group produced a significantly greater amount of interferon gamma (IFN gamma) than did those from the high-risk group; IL-4 cannot be detected by ELISA kit, and only a trace amount of IL-4 mRNA was detected by RT-PCR technique; cord blood basophils stimulated with PHA and PMA could produce a significant amount of IL-4; there was an inverse correlation between the production of IFN gamma and cord blood IgE level (high-risk group, r = 0.647, n = 17) and the number of natural killer (NK) cells (CD3- CD16+ CD56+) was significantly lower in high-risk group than for low-risk group.
Conclusion: Our data suggested increased production of IL-6 and decreased production of IFN gamma of cord blood mononuclear cells appear to be the hallmark of newborns from the high-risk population.