gms | German Medical Science

76th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

04.05. - 08.05.2005, Erfurt

Th2-, Th1- and regulatory cytokines in allergic rhinitis

Meeting Abstract

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 76. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie e.V.. Erfurt, 04.-08.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05hno032

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2005

© 2005 Wagenmann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



The type and amount of inflammation in allergic rhinitis are regulated by cytokines. Therefore, we investigated the production of the Th2-cytokines IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, of the Th1-cytokines IFN-γ, IL-12 and of the regulatory cytokine IL-10 that is capable of downregulating their synthesis.

Lower turbinate specimen from 23 patients with allergic rhinitis in season were included in this study and compared with 21 nonallergic control patients. The number of cytokine producing cells in the surgical material was quantified with ELISPOT-assays.

The production of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 was significantly elevated in allergics compared to controls (IL-4: 103±24 vs. 70±33 producing cells/10⁵ cells, p=0.04; IL-5: 56±25 vs. 13±7, p=0.04; IL-13: 2879±1085 vs. 656±416, p=0.04 (mean±SEM, Wilcoxon-test)). The number of IL-12- (45±20 vs. 7±2, p=0.02) and IFN-γ-producing cells (102±36 vs. 32±16, p=0.01) was significantly elevated as well. IL-10 was also significantly higher in allergics (190±59 vs. 44±28, p=0.01). Positive correlations (R>0,6) were detected between IL-4 and IL-5, IL-12, IL-13; between IL-5 and IL-12, IFN-γ; and between IFN-γ and IL-10, IL-12.

This investigation of cytokine production during natural allergen exposure demonstrates that the synthesis of both Th2- and Th1-cytokines is increased in allergic rhinitis. Analysis of correlations argues against the common paradigm of a dichotomy between Th1- and Th2-cytokines - it suggests a more complex interaction.

IL-10 is not associated with a downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines in this context. This points to a preponderance of proinflammatory mechanisms or to the relevance of other regulatory mechanisms.