Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology

In vitro and in vivo effect of glucocorticoids on IgE and IgG subclass secretion.

PMID 7874601


Hydrocortisone (HC) as well as its synthetic derivatives have been shown to strongly enhance interleukin-4 (IL-4)-induced in vitro IgE synthesis. To investigate possible effects on IgG subclasses, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were incubated with different glucocorticosteroids in the absence or presence of IL-4. The glucocorticoids alone led to a strongly enhanced secretion of IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3, but not IgG4. The addition of IL-4 induced marked increases in IgG1 and IgG4, no changes in IgG3, but a consistent decrease in IgG2 synthesis. In order to find out whether these profound in vitro effects of corticosteroids are also reflected by changes in antibody serum levels during steroid treatment, 10 healthy volunteers took 25 mg prednisone for 7 consecutive days. We could not observe any significant changes of IgE or IgG subclass serum levels during or after this period. However, cell cultures performed after the glucocorticoid treatment revealed a marked decrease in the ability to produce IgG4 and a significantly lower potential to produce IgE in response to IL-4 alone or IL-4 and HC. We conclude that, although strongly implicated by the in vitro results, glucocorticosteroid treatment does not result in an increased allergy risk.

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