Atopy, serum IgE, and interleukin-13 in steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome
Earlier studies have demonstrated a strong association of steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome (SRNS), atopy, and elevated serum IgE levels. Interleukin (IL-13) gene expression is significantly increased in children with SRNS in relapse. As interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-13, and IL-4 have regulatory effects on IgE synthesis, we examined the relationship between intracellular cytokine production and serum IgE levels in children with SRNS, in order to further define the reported association with atopy. The median serum IgE levels in nephrotic patients in relapse with (492 U/ml) or without atopy (561 U/ml) were significantly higher than those in remission (221 U/ml, P<0.002 or 90 U/ml, P<0.001, respectively) and non-atopic controls (177 U/ml) (P<0.001). The percentage of CD3+ IL-13-producing cells was significantly higher in nephrotic children in relapse, and correlated with the serum IgE levels during the active phase of the disease (r=0.90, P<0.001). These data suggest that the elevated serum IgE levels during relapses of SRNS were the result of upregulation of IL-13. This probably reflects some common immune activation following various stimuli, rather than a direct association with atopy.
KeywordsSteroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome Immunoglobulins Atopy Th1/Th2 cytokine
This work was supported by a grant (NMRC/0083/1995) from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore.
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