Importantly, our detailed analysis demonstrates that the Equ c 1143–160-specific CD4+ T-cell responses from this, as well as other non-allergic individuals examined, appeared to derive solely from the naive CD4+ T-cell subset (Fig. 4a, b). In contrast, all the Equ c 1143–160-specific CD4+ T-cell responses from allergic subjects derived from the memory CD4+ T-cell subset (Fig. 4a, b). Consequently, the situation with the Equ c 1 allergen appears to be similar to our previous observations with the Bos d 2 and Can f 1 allergens in that allergic subjects have elevated frequencies of CD4+ memory T cells in their peripheral blood.[1, 2] This notion is also
in line with the available data on CD4+ T-cell responses to other allergens, such as cat Fel d 1 Selleck GSI-IX and peanut
Ara h 1. Taken together, our current results further support the concept that the frequency of allergen-specific CD4+ learn more T cells, especially those of the memory phenotype, is higher in allergic subjects.[1-7] As reported above, one non-allergic subject had strong cellular reactivity to Equ c 1, which was derived from the naive CD4+ T-cell subset (Fig. 4a). Although reasons for the reactivity are not known, it can be speculated that this individual has a predisposition for sensitization to Equ c 1. Nevertheless, the finding points to a possibility that healthy subjects are not a homogeneous group with low or non-existent levels of allergen-specific T cells. Therefore, further investigations are clearly necessary to explore the complete repertoire of T-cell reactivity to allergenic proteins among healthy subjects. The estimated frequency of Equ c 1 protein-specific CD4+ T cells was very low, in the range of 1 per 106 CD4+ T cells, in the peripheral blood of sensitized and healthy subjects. Although methodological and other differences between studies may complicate direct comparison, the frequency corresponds well with our previous
estimates with the Bos d 2 and Can f 1 allergens.[1, 2] In line with our observations, the frequency of birch pollen Bet v 1-specific CD4+ T cells was reported to be in the same range in the peripheral blood of sensitized subjects Y-27632 cost outside the birch pollen season. At the peak of the season, however, this frequency was strongly increased. It is of interest that a tetramer-based enrichment method showed high frequencies (up to 1 in 7000 cells), and considerable variation, of specific CD4+ T cells to an important animal-derived allergen, cat Fel d 1, in allergic subjects. Elevated frequencies of allergen-specific CD4+ T cells compared with healthy donors have also been found in allergy to the peanut Ara h 1, rye grass Lol p 1, and alder Aln g 1 allergens.[4-6] In the current study, the frequency of Equ c 1-specific CD4+ T cells in most healthy subjects was also lower than that in allergic subjects.