J Rhinol.  1998 May;5(1):5-10.

The Role of Cytokines in Allergy

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Seoul National University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Several pathophysiologic features of allergic inflammation, such as T(H) differentiation, the regulation of IgE, eosinophilia, mast cell proliferation, and cellular recruitment, are regulated by various cytokines. It has been of particular interest to investigate the underlying mechanism in the preferential activation of T(H2) cells by allergens. Although interleukin (IL)-4 is the major determinant of T(H2) differentiation, the original cellular source of IL-4 and the nature of the interaction between IL-4 and TH2 differentiation remain unclear. Recent studies have demonstrated that the regulation of IgE depends primarily on the functional activities of IL-4, IL-13, and IFN-gamma. Eosinophilia and an increased number of mast cells characterize allergic inflammation, which is a T cell-dependent process. IL-5 is the major chemotactic and activating factor of eosinophils. Mast cell proliferation results from several cytokines, including IL-3, IL-9, and IL-10. It has been suggested that, in the late phase reaction of allergic inflammation, proinflammatory cytokines released from mast cells, eosinophils, and T(H2) cells enhance the expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines that further promote the allergic cellular milieu.


T(H) differentiation; IgE; Eosinophil; Mast cell; Cytokine
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