The proliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to food antigens in 22 patients with food sensitive atopic dermatitis were significantly higher than the responses of healthy children and food sensitive children with immediate symptoms. Moreover, the activity of interleukin-2 (IL-2) in supernatants of food antigen stimulated PBMC cultures from patients with atopic dermatitis was significantly higher than that in healthy children and food sensitive children with immediate symptoms. The activity of IL-2 in culture supernatants of separated cell populations stimulated with food antigens from patients with atopic dermatitis and healthy children was investigated. The activity of IL-2 in supernatants of food antigen stimulated T cell cultures could be detected in patients with atopic dermatitis but not in healthy children. These results suggest that the increased IL-2 production after food antigen stimulation is due to increased T cell activity in food sensitive atopic dermatitis.
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