Correlation between T-cell and mast cell activity in patients with chronic urticaria

Bernadett Hidvégi, Eszter Nagy, Teréz Szabó, Erzsébet Temesvári, Márta Marschalkó, Sarolta Kárpáti, Attila Horváth, Péter Gergely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The presence of autoantibodies reacting with the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRIα) usually indicates a more severe form of chronic urticaria (CU). Previously, we showed an increased lymphocyte reactivity in CU patients; however, the relation between enhanced cellular immunity and the presence of anti-FcεRIα-specific autoantibodies has not been investigated. Methods: Cellular and humoral immune reactivity of 50 CU patients and 28 healthy controls was studied. Serum sIL-2R, neopterin, and tryptase levels were measured to assess T-cell, monocyte/macrophage and mast cell activity, respectively. Helicobacter pylori (HP)-specific IgG antibody, and IgE levels were also tested. Anti-FcεRIα-specific autoantibody was determined by Western blotting. In vivo histamine-releasing activity of patients' sera was assessed by the autologous serum skin test (AST). Results: 17/50 CU patients, who both had IgG-type anti-FcεRIα-antibodies by Western blotting and a positive AST response, were classified as autoimmune CU. All patients with CU had significantly higher serum sIL-2R and tryptase levels than healthy controls (p = 0.000257, p = 0.000166, respectively), indicating T-cell and mast cell activation. Patients with higher sIL-2R levels also had higher tryptase levels; the strongest correlation was shown in the autoimmune subgroup of patients (ρ = 0.688, p = 0.002). There was a tendency towards higher tryptase levels in the autoimmune subgroup, as compared to the nonautoimmune CU patients. While the serum IgE was significantly lower in autoimmune than in nonautoimmune CU (p = 0.000836), there was no significant difference in their sIL-2R, neopterin and HP-specific IgG antibody levels. CU patients with a positive AST response (38/50) had significantly higher tryptase levels (p = 0.0107) when compared to the negative skin test group. Conclusions: The significant correlation between sIL-2R and tryptase levels in patients with CU indicates that T cell activation is proportional to mast cell degranulation in these patients. The increased level of tryptase in autoimmune CU may suggest more severe disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalInternational archives of allergy and immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 24 2003



  • Chronic urticaria
  • FcεRIα-specific autoantibody
  • Tryptase
  • sIL2R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this