Background: New insights into immune cells could contribute to treatment and monitoring of atopic disease. Because nongenetic factors shape the human immune system, we here studied these immune cells in a large cohort with atopic children with adjustment for prenatal and postnatal confounders. Methods: Information on atopic dermatitis, inhalant- and food-allergic sensitization, asthma lung function scores was obtained from 855 10-year-old children within the Generation R cohort. 11-color flow cytometry was performed to determine CD27+ and CD27−IgG+, IgE+ and IgA+ memory B cells, Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg-memory cells from venous blood. Associations between any atopic disease, the individual atopic diseases, and immune cell numbers were determined. Results: Children with any atopic disease had higher Th2, Treg, Treg-memory, and CD27+IgA+ memory B-cell numbers compared to children without atopic disease. When studying the individual diseases compared to children without the individual diseases, children with atopic dermatitis, inhalant-, and food-allergic sensitization had higher memory Treg cell numbers 12.3% (95% CI 4.2; 21.0), (11.1% (95% CI 3.0; 19.8), (23.7% (95% CI 7.9; 41.8), respectively. Children with food-allergic sensitization had higher total B and CD27+IgA+ memory B-cell numbers (15.2% [95% CI 3.2; 28.7], 22.5% [95% CI 3.9; 44.3], respectively). No associations were observed between asthma and B- or T-cell numbers. Conclusion: Children with any atopic disease and children with inhalant- and food-allergic sensitization or atopic dermatitis had higher circulating memory Treg cells, but not higher IgE+B-cell numbers. The associations of higher Treg and CD27+IgA+ B-cell numbers in children with food-allergic sensitization are suggestive of TGF-β-mediated compensation for chronic inflammation.

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Keywords atopic disease, IgA memory B cell, IgE memory B cell, T helper cell, T regulatory cell
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Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal Allergy
Looman, K.I.M. (Kirsten I. M.), van Meel, E.R, Grosserichter-Wagener, C, Vissers, F.J.M. (Floor J. M.), Klingenberg, J.H. (Janice H.), de Jong, N.W, … Moll, H.A. (2019). Associations of Th2, Th17, Treg cells, and IgA+ memory B cells with atopic disease in children: The Generation R Study. Allergy. doi:10.1111/all.14010