Increase in Ksp37-positive peripheral blood lymphocytes in mild extrinsic asthma

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SUMMARYKiller-specific secretory protein of 37 kDa (Ksp37), identified as a Th1/Tc1 specific secretory protein is expressed preferentially in cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells and might be involved in essential processes of CTL-mediated immunity. Although extrinsic asthma is linked currently to a Th2-dominated pathogenesis, there is increasing evidence for Th1/Tc1-mediated processes in the aetiopathology of asthma. CTL from patients with asthma have been shown to express cytokines and effector molecules which were different from healthy controls. We hypothesized that Ksp37 could indicate the involvement of CTL in the pathogenesis of extrinsic asthma. We therefore investigated Ksp37 expression in PBMC from patients with mild extrinsic asthma (n = 7) and healthy controls (n = 7). Flow cytometric analysis was used to quantify Ksp37+ cells and to investigate cellular Ksp37 expression as relative mean fluorescence intensities (MFI). We found a significantly (P = 0·016) higher percentage of Ksp37+ cells within the total lymphocyte population obtained from patients with mild extrinsic asthma compared with healthy controls. Subdifferentiation revealed a significant difference limited exclusively to the CD8+ subset (P = 0·010). In addition, Ksp37 secretion from cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and MFI of Ksp37+ lymphocytes were increased in patients with asthma compared with healthy controls. We conclude that mild extrinsic asthma appears to be associated with an increased expression of the Tc1 related protein Ksp37. The functional role of Ksp37 in the pathogenesis of asthma remains to be elucidated.

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