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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Levels of interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, and interleukin-4 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from patients with Mycoplasma pneumonia: implication of tendency toward increased immunoglobulin E production.

OBJECTIVE: In connection with the possible relationship between Mycoplasma infection and the onset of asthma, several studies have shown not only a high level of serum total immunoglobulin E (IgE) but also the production of IgE specific to Mycoplasma or common allergens during the course of Mycoplasma infection. It has been suggested that the balance of T helper type 1 (TH1)/T helper type 2 (TH2) immune response may regulate the synthesis of IgE. The objective of this study was to investigate the pattern of cytokine response ( TH1 or TH2) during an episode of acute lower respiratory tract infection caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. STUDY DESIGN: Using a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) with flexible bronchoscopy procedure, this study determined the levels of interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma ( TH1), and IL-4 (TH2) in the supernatant of BAL fluid as well as the BAL cellular profiles of patients with Mycoplasma pneumonia (n = 14). These results were compared with those of patients with pneumococcal pneumonia (n = 12) or those of children with no identifiable airway infections (control group: n = 8). RESULTS: The BAL cellular profile in the Mycoplasma pneumonia group was characterized by a high percentage of neutrophils and lymphocytes. A significantly increased level of IL-2 was found in both pneumonia groups, compared with the control group. In contrast, the IFN-gamma level was not different for the 3 groups. The level of IL-4 and ratio of IL-4/IFN-gamma were significantly elevated in the Mycoplasma pneumonia group, but not in the pneumococcal pneumonia group, compared with the controls. CONCLUSIONS: IL-4 levels and IL-4/IFN-gamma ratios in BAL fluid are significantly higher in patients with Mycoplasma pneumonia than in patients with pneumococcal pneumonia or control participants. The BAL cytokine data suggest a predominant TH2-like cytokine response in Mycoplasma pneumonia, thus representing a favorable condition for IgE production.[1]


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