METHODS: With institutional review board approval, 20 patients with allergic disorders, including food allergy, bronchial asthma (BA), atopic dermatitis, and chronic urticaria, and six control patients with non-allergic disease were enrolled. Surface expression of CCR5 for Th1 and CRTH2, CCR3, CCR4, CCR7, and CCR8 for Th2 CD4+ lymphocytes was analyzed by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: The percentages of CCR5+, CRTH2+, CCR3+, CCR4+, CCR7+, and CCR8+ T cells showed no significant difference among allergic disorders. A significantly higher frequency of CRTH2+ T cells was observed in patients with BA compared that in the diseased control group in the absence of active allergic and non-allergic inflammations (n = 5 and 12, respectively; p = 0.012). Conversely, there were no significant differences in chemokine receptor expression between the two groups. Unexpectedly, the percentages of CRTH2+ T cells and CCR5+ T cells significantly correlated with age (r = 0.720, p = 00003; r = 0.483, p = 0.012, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with our previous findings in physiological conditions, T cell expression of CRTH2, but not these chemokine receptors could be a suitable marker for Th2-diseases such as BA.