Assessment of selected costimulatory, adhesion, and activatory molecules and cytokines of Th1/Th2 balance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children
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Recent years have seen a rise in the importance of cytokine production and co-stimulatory/activatory molecule expression in the immune response in leukemia. The aim of our study was to assess the function of T lymphocytes in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during remission induction based on selected cytokine and co-stimulatory/activatory molecule expression. The study group consisted of 50 children with ALL (B cell precursor). Peripheral blood samples were taken before treatment (day 0), after the prednisone prophase (day 8), and during (day 15) and after (day 33) remission induction. The percentages of T cells with interferon (IFN)-g (Th1), interleukin (IL)-4 (Th2) and IL-2 receptor (IL-2R), CD28, CTLA-4, CD38, ICAM-1, and HLA-DR expression were assessed by tricolor flow cytometry. At the time of diagnosis we noted higher percentages of T cells with adhesion molecule ICAM-1, activation molecule CD38 expression, and an increased population of Th2 cells (IL-4) compared with the control group. During and after remission induction we observed a decreased population of CD38+ T cells, elevated percentages of helper T lymphocytes with IL-2R expression, and a rise in helper T lymphocytes producing IFN-g (Th1). During fever/infection, higher levels of activated T lymphocytes (CD4+HLA-DR+, CD8+HLA-DR+), a rise in Th1, and no change in Th2 populations were observed. The results suggest T cell activation and Th2 predominance at the time of diagnosis and during remission induction in ALL in children. These results confirm the involvement of cellular immunity in the leukemic process and can be used in immune therapy in leukemia.
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Wlodzimierz Luczynski, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Medical University of Bialystok, Poland