Skin-infiltrating T cells and cytokine expression in Icelandic horses affected with insect bite hypersensitivity: a possible role for regulatory T cells

Heimann, M.; Janda, J.; Sigurdardottir, O.G.; Svansson, V.; Klukowska, J.; von Tscharner, C.; Doherr, M.; Brostrom, H.; Andersson, L.S.; Einarsson, S.; Marti, E.; Torsteinsdottir, S. (2011). Skin-infiltrating T cells and cytokine expression in Icelandic horses affected with insect bite hypersensitivity: a possible role for regulatory T cells. Veterinary immunology and immunopathology, 140(1-2), pp. 63-74. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.vetimm.2010.11.016

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Equine insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is a seasonally recurrent, pruritic skin disorder caused by an IgE-mediated reaction to salivary proteins of biting flies, predominantly of the genus Culicoides. The aim of this study was to define T cell subsets and cytokine profile in the skin of IBH-affected Icelandic horses with particular focus on the balance between T helper (Th) 1, Th2 and T regulatory (Treg) cells. Distribution and number of CD4+, CD8+ and Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)+ T cells were characterized by immunohistochemical staining in lesional and non-lesional skin of moderately and severely IBH-affected horses (n=14) and in the skin of healthy control horses (n=10). Using real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, mRNA expression levels of Th2 cytokines (Interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-13), Th1 cytokines (Interferon-gamma), regulatory cytokines (Transforming Growth Factor beta1, IL-10) and the Treg transcription factor FoxP3 were measured in skin and blood samples. Furthermore, Culicoides nubeculosus specific serum IgE levels were assessed. Lesions of IBH-affected horses contained significantly higher numbers of CD4+ cells than skin of healthy control horses. Furthermore, the total number of T cells (CD4+ and CD8+) was significantly increased in lesional compared to non-lesional skin and there was a tendency (p=0.07) for higher numbers of CD4+ cells in lesional compared to non-lesional skin. While the number of FoxP3+ T cells did not differ significantly between the groups, the ratio of Foxp3 to CD4+ cells was significantly lower in lesions of severely IBH-affected horses than in moderately affected or control horses. Interestingly, differences in FoxP3 expression were more striking at the mRNA level. FoxP3 mRNA levels were significantly reduced in lesional skin, compared both to non-lesional and to healthy skin and were also significantly lower in non-lesional compared to healthy skin. Expression levels of IL-13, but not IL-4 or IL-5, were significantly elevated in lesional and non-lesional skin of IBH-affected horses. IL-10 levels were lower in lesional compared to non-lesional skin (p=0.06) and also lower (p=0.06) in the blood of IBH-affected than of healthy horses. No significant changes were observed regarding blood expression levels of Th1 and Th2 cytokines or FoxP3. Finally, IBH-affected horses had significantly higher Culicoides nubeculosus specific serum IgE levels than control horses. The presented data suggest that an imbalance between Th2 and Treg cells is a characteristic feature in IBH. Treatment strategies for IBH should thus aim at restoring the balance between Th2 and Treg cells.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Experimental Clinical Research

UniBE Contributor:

Marti, Eliane Isabelle

ISSN:

0165-2427

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:32

Last Modified:

21 Jan 2014 15:05

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.vetimm.2010.11.016

Web of Science ID:

000288342800009

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/12305 (FactScience: 218625)

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