Measurement of T-helper cytokines secreted by cord blood mononuclear cells in response to allergens

Gillian Devereux, Andrew Michael Hall, Robert Norman Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed that in utero factors may predispose towards the development of childhood atopy. To test this hypothesis, it will be necessary to measure T-helper cell (Th) cytokines secreted by human cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC) stimulated by allergens. However, to date, it has proven impossible to measure allergen-specific CBMC secretion of the key Th cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) using conventional sandwich ELISA techniques. We report for the first time the successful measurement of IL-4 secreted by CBMC stimulated by the allergens timothy grass pollen and house dust mite extract. The method is an adaptation of a novel cell-based ELISA (celELISA), which demonstrated an increased (up to 20-fold) sensitivity to detect IL-4. The method is simple, precise, is no more costly than a conventional ELISA, and can identify individuals in a general population whose CBMC exhibit different cytokine biases in response to allergens. The frequency distribution of IL-4 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) CBMC responses to allergens in the general population approximates to a log-normal distribution, which will permit the application of linear regression techniques in the identification of in utero factors which influence Th bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2000


  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-4
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Mites
  • Poaceae
  • Pollen
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
  • Interferon-¿
  • T-helper subsets
  • Human cord blood mononuclear cells


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