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Research Article

Lymphocyte Expression of Intracellular Cytokines and Heat Shock Proteins in Peripheral Blood of Patients with Atopic Dermatitis

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 29 ]


Fadia Mahmoud, David D. Haines*, Basel Ibrahim and Nermina Arifhodzic   Pages 2345 - 2353 ( 9 )


Introduction: The present study evaluates expression by activated CD4+ T helper1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2) T lymphocytes of pro-inflammatory cytokines and cytoprotective heat shock proteins (HSPs) in peripheral blood of atopic dermatitis (AD) patients.

Methods: This research represents preliminary work by the authors to identify correlates between critical immune parameters with the potential to serve as guidelines for the development of pharmacological strategies for altering these factors to promote the restoration of healthy immune profiles in persons afflicted with major atopic diseases. The major experimental strategy used in this research assessed immune activation by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 21 AD patients and 12 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects cultured with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and ionomycin (PMA/I), which are mutagenic immune activators, to induce expression of pro-inflammatory biomarkers in CD4+ T cells differentiated to express Th1 or Th2 cytokines and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) intracellularly (i). Evaluations were performed using an FC500 Beckman-Coulter flow cytometer. Elevated CD4+ T cell expression of cytokines, interleukin-4 (iIL-4), interleukin- 5 (iIL-5), interleukin-10 (iIL-10), interferon-gamma (iIFN-g), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (iTNF-α), were observed.

Results: Additionally, the heat shock proteins (HSP) iHO-1 and iHSP-70 were evaluated in cells from the blood of AD patients versus the control subjects. The present study demonstrated an elevated expression of both Th1 and Th2-associated cytokines in CD4+ T cells of AD patients, with a significant direct correlation between Th1 and Th2 cell populations, thus yielding insight into the immune features of the AD-associated systemic inflammatory profile.

Conclusion: Finally, the observed increased iHO-1 and iHSP-70 expressions likely represent adaptive physiologic countermeasures to AD-associated inflammatory tissue damage, suggesting that HSP inducers are promising candidates for the management of atopic disorders.


Atopic dermatitis, cytokines, Th1 and Th2, heme oxygenase-1, lymphocytes, immune regulation.


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