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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2006, Article ID 71214, 6 pages
Research Communication

NKT Cells in the Induced Sputum of Severe Asthmatics

1Department of Pediatric and Respiratory Diseases, Abderrahmane Mami Hospital, Pavillon B, Ariana 2080, Tunisia
2Homeostasis and Cell Dysfunction Unit Research 99/UR/08-40, Medicine University of Tunis, Tunis 1007, Tunisia

Received 24 October 2005; Accepted 9 December 2005

Copyright © 2006 Agnes Hamzaoui 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 determine whether there was a specific inflammatory process in severe asthmatics, the phenotypic characteristics of induced sputum immune cells were analysed among patients with severe asthma. Twenty-two induced sputa (10 severe asthmatics) were studied. Flow cytometric analysis was performed using immune cells of the sputum and monoclonal antibodies to CD3, CD4, CD8, CD56, CD25, and TCRγδ. The number of NKT (CD3+CD56+) cells was significantly higher in the sputum of severe asthmatics compared with mild asthmatic and healthy control groups (P<.05). CD8+CD56+ cells were the predominant subtype of the increased NKT cells in severe asthmatics. CD3+CD56+Vα24+, TCRγδ+ CD56+, and CD4+CD25+ T cells were significantly increased in severe asthmatic patients. These results suggest that the immunopathogenesis of severe asthmatics vary between severe and mild asthmatics, and that CD8+CD56+ NKT cells may play an important role in the immunopathogenesis of severe asthma.