IgE levels in cord blood have been investigated as predictors of atopy, but no definitive findings have been made. Other factors, including cells and/or cytokines may serve as predictors of this disease. Cord blood and peripheral blood was obtained at birth and at 7 months of age, respectively, from children (n = 2) with a family history of allergy. Cells in cord blood and peripheral blood were phenotyped and levels of serum immunoglobulins (IgM, IgG, IgA and IgE) were determined. In addition, placentas from these pregnancies were obtained and stained for IgE+ cells and CD8+CD60+ T cells. We found immunoglobulin levels were within normal ranges although IgE levels were negligible in cord blood and at 7 months of age. Similar numbers of CD8+ T cells and CD19+ B cells were detected in cord blood and at 7 months of age. However, CD4+ T cells increased (twofold) and CD16+/CD56+ natural killer precursor cells decreased (twofold) at 7 months of age. CD8+ T cells in their cord blood and at 7 months of age comprised of >50% CD8+CD60+ T cells. Cord blood cells expressed epsilon-specific mRNA and mRNA for interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-10 and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) but not IL-6. At 7 months of age, peripheral blood mononuclear cells expressed epsilon-specific mRNA and mRNA for all cytokines. In the placental membrane, we detected IgE+ cells, while CD8+CD60+ T cells were detected in the chorionic villi. CD8+CD60+ T cells, cells expressing epsilon-specific and IL-6-specific mRNA may contribute to the pathobiology and provide important prognostic indicators of atopy.
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