T-helper type 2 polarization among asthmatics during and following pregnancy

D. Rastogi, C. Wang, C. Lendor, P. B. Rothman, R. L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Asthma is the most common medical condition during pregnancy. While increased production of T helper cytokines has been reported to occur in both asthma and pregnancy, the effect of T-helper type 2 (Th2) polarization on asthma symptoms during pregnancy has not been well-characterized. Objective: We hypothesized that systemic Th2 cytokine and chemokine polarization occurs among asthmatics to a greater extent during their pregnancy, and is associated with more severe asthma and increased Th2 polarization in the newborn. Methods: Fifty-six pregnant asthmatics were recruited from prenatal clinics affiliated with New York Presbyterian Hospital. Systemic production of interleukin-4, interferon-γ, eotaxin and IP 10 were measured by intracytoplasmic staining or ELISA at recruitment, peripartum and post-partum, and in the cord blood. The frequency of asthma symptoms was measured by questionnaires and compared with Th biomarkers. Results: The chemokine ratio (IP 10/eotaxin) declined over the course of pregnancy (from 3.3 ± 1.3 to 1.4 ±0 .2, P = 0.016), but IP 10 and eotaxin increased post-partum. The decrease in the chemokine ratio was associated with more frequent asthma symptoms. A non-significant trend towards decreased interferon-γ and increased interleukin-4 production was detected. Cord blood eotaxin levels correlated with maternal levels (r = 0.3 5, P = 0.03). Other peripartum biomarkers were not associated with Th2 polarization nor with subsequent respiratory symptoms in the newborn. Conclusions: IP 10/eotaxin declined over the course of pregnancy and was associated with worse asthma symptoms. Alterations of Th1/Th2 chemokine balance during pregnancy may identify women prone to more severe asthma during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-898
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Pregnancy
  • T helper chemokines
  • T helper cytokines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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