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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 11, Issue 5, Pages 307-312

Cellular and cytokine immunoregulation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchial asthma

1Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Department of Microwave Safety, Immunology Laboratory, Szaserów 128, Warsaw 00909, Poland
2Central Clinical Hospital of Military School of Mecicine, Clinic of Pneumonology and Allergy, Szaserów 128, Warsaw 00909, Poland

Copyright © 2002 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.


Background: Different forms of chronic airway inflammation may involve diverse pathogenic elements. In general, deficient defence response is a feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), whereas distorted immunoregulatory mechanisms lead to development of asthmatic symptoms. In addition to diverse effector mechanisms, the cellular and humoral elements participating in the development of immune response may appear to be different in COPD and bronchial asthma (BA) patients.

Aims: To evaluate the immunoregulatory properties of T cells and monocytes in cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and to determine the chosen cytokine profiles in COPD and BA patients.

Methods: The microcultures of PBMC from COPD and BA patients were assessed for the T-cell response to mitogens, saturation of interleukin (IL)-2 receptors, T-cell suppressive activity and monokine influence on lymphocyte proliferation. Concomitantly, the cytokine (IL-1β, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, tumour necrosis factor-α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8) concentrations were determined in the serum, the broncho-alveolar lavage fluid and in the culture supernatants.

Results: The T-lymphocyte reactions (response to phytohaemagglutinin, IL-2 receptor saturation, suppressive activity) were lower in BA pateints than in COPD patients. Reversely, the immunogenic activity of monocytes (IL-1β versus IL-1ra production) was higher in BA patients than in COPD patients. The highest values of cytokine concentrations were found in the culture supernatants. The concentrations of tumour necrosis factor-α , IL-4, IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly higher and the concentration of IL-1ra was lower in BA patients than in COPD patients.

Conclusion: The assessments of cellular immunoregulatory properties and cytokine profiles in the cultures of blood mononuclear cells may prove helpful for diagnostic and therapeutic discrimination between BA and COPD patients.