TH1/TH2 cytokine balance in patients with both type 1 diabetes mellitus and asthma

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Background and objective

T1DM and asthma are mediated by opposite arms of the cellular immune system namely T helper (Th)1 and Th2 CD4+ cells, respectively. Our aim was to characterize the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance in patients with both T1DM and asthma.


Forty-four patients, mean age 19 years were matched by gender and age, to 4 paired groups: T1DM and asthma, asthma only, T1DM only and healthy controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were stimulated in vitro with disease-specific recombinant antigens; glutamic acid decarboxylase and house dust mite (Der p1 antigen) for T1DM and asthma, respectively, and non-specific mitogens; phytohemaglutinin (PHA), tetanus toxin and anti-CD3 mAb. ELISPOT and ELISA technique were used to determine INF-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-13 and IL-10 expression.


Patients with T1DM and asthma demonstrated a similar cytokine pattern but lower Th1/Th2 ratio compared to patients with T1DM only. The Th2 cytokines response to Der p1 was enhanced in patients with both diseases compared to controls. The IL-10 overall secretion was higher in patients with both diseases compared to one disease only.


The Th1 and Th2 secretory pattern of patients with T1DM and asthma combines features of both diseases suggesting a unique Th1/Th2 balance.

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