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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 4, Issue 3, Pages 196-204

Analysis of cyt0kine gene expression in stimulated T cells of small children by semi-quantitative PCR

1Department of Immunology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Pediatrics, Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Only limited amounts of peripheral blood samples can be obtained from small children. Therefore, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) aided analysis of cytokine gene expression by PBMC or T cells is a valuable tool. We present a combination of procedures to obtain an accurate estimation of the expression of the cytokines IL-4 and IFN-γ. This can be performed on T cells purified from blood samples of up to 5 ml in volume from children aged 0–4 years with allergic asthma and atopic dermatitis. This procedure includes multiple sampling of PCR products to determine the linear phase of the PCR; inter-experiment correction using a helper T-cell clone, expressing both IL-4 and IFN-γ; interpatient correction by comparing the expression of a housekeeping gene (HPRT); and finally the development of specific software to analyse densitometric data obtained by scanning photographs of agarose gels, separating PCR products. In this way it is possible to study cytokine gene expression from a very small amount of material.