Differences in innate immune function between allergic and nonallergic children: New insights into immune ontogeny

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Background: Microbial products are of central interest in the modulation of allergic propensity. Objective: We sought to explore whether allergic children show differences in microbial Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated responses over their first 5 years of life. Methods: Mononuclear cells isolated from 35 allergic and 35 nonallergic children at birth and 1, 2.5, and 5 years of age were stimulated with TLR2-TLR9 ligands to study innate immune function and with allergens or mitogen to assess adaptive T-cell responses. Cytokine production was measured by using Luminex multiplexing technology. Results: Nonallergic children show progressive and significant age-related increases in innate cytokine responses (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-10) to virtually all TLR ligands. This innate maturation corresponds with a parallel increase in adaptive TH1 (IFN-γ) responses to allergens and mitogens. In contrast, allergic children show exaggerated innate responses at birth (P < .01) but a relative decrease with age thereafter, so that by age 5 years, TLR responses are attenuated compared with those seen in nonallergic subjects (P < .05). This early hyperresponsiveness in allergic subjects fails to translate to a corresponding maturation of TH1 function, which remains attenuated relative to that seen in nonallergic subjects but is associated with a characteristic age-dependent increase in allergen-specific TH2 responses (P < .01). Conclusion: Our findings suggest significant differences in the developmental trajectory of innate immune function in children with allergic disease that might contribute to the recognized differences in postnatal adaptive T-cell immunity. © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.




Tulic, M. K., Hodder, M., Forsberg, A., McCarthy, S., Richman, T., DVaz, N., … Prescott, S. L. (2011). Differences in innate immune function between allergic and nonallergic children: New insights into immune ontogeny. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 127(2). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2010.09.020

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