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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 148262, 6 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Specific Immunotherapy on Natural Killer T cells in Peripheral Blood of House Dust Mite-Sensitized Children with Asthma

Department of Pediatrics, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200001, China

Received 6 June 2012; Revised 1 August 2012; Accepted 2 August 2012

Academic Editor: T. Nakayama

Copyright © 2012 Lu Yan-ming et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To investigate the effects of specific immunotherapy on the NKT cells in peripheral blood and the ability of NKT cells to proliferate in response to alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) in house-dust-mite- (HDM-) sensitized asthma children, peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 42 asthmatic children, of whom 24 were on specific immunotherapy (SIT) for more than a year and 20 were healthy. Compared with control group, the ratio of peripheral blood NKT and CD4+NKT cells was significantly decreased ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ) and was elevated in SIT asthma group ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ), respectively, but it was still less than the normal control group ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ). The level of IL-4 in serum secreted by NKT cells in asthma group was significantly higher than that of control group ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ), particularly apparent after 72 hours. The level of IL-4 in SIT group decreased significantly ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ). The level of IL-10 in serum secreted by NKT cells in asthma group was decreased significantly than that of the control group ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ) especially in 48 hours, while that of SIT group was increased significantly ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 1 ). These results suggest that the pathogenesis of asthma may be related to the ratio and dysfunction of NKT and CD4+NKT cells.