Increased frequency of intracellular interleukin (IL)-13 and IL-10, but not IL-4, expressing CD4+ and CD8+ peripheral T cells of patients with atopic dermatitis

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Background: A number of studies exist demonstrating the increased expression of type 2 cytokines and decreased capacity to produce interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Objectives: To clarify the results of recent studies concerning the role of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 in PBMCs of AD patients, we analysed the activation status of lymphocyte subpopulations. Methods: We measured the intracellular expression and serum levels of certain type 1 and type 2 cytokines, using cell surface and intracellular cytokine staining, flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques. Results: The frequency of IL-10 and IL-13 producing CD4+ and CDS+ T cells was significantly higher in patients with AD, while the frequency of IFN-γ secreting helper and cytotoxic T cells was significantly lower in patients with AD than in control subjects. The serum levels of IL-10 and IL-13 were also significantly increased. There were no significant differences observed between the experimental groups in the frequency of IL-4 producing CD4+ and CD8+ cells. Conclusions: This study demonstrates a type 2 cytokine production in the CD4+ and CD8+ T cells of AD patients, which is characterized by an elevated IL-13, but not by IL-4 secretion, and by an increased level of the immunoregulatory IL-10, which can contribute to a decrease in IFN-γ expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1141
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002



  • Atopic dermatitis
  • CD4+ cells
  • CD8+ cells
  • Flow cytometry
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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