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The Inverse Association Between Tuberculin Responses and Atopic Disorder

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Science  03 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5296, pp. 77-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5296.77

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Abstract

Human immune responses are heterogeneous and may involve antagonism between T helper (TH) lymphocyte subsets and their cytokines. Atopy is characterized by immediate immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated hypersensitivity to agents such as dust mites and pollen, and it underlies the increasingly prevalent disorder asthma. Among Japanese schoolchildren, there was a strong inverse association between delayed hypersensitivity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and atopy. Positive tuberculin responses predicted a lower incidence of asthma, lower serum IgE levels, and cytokine profiles biased toward TH1 type. Exposure and response to M. tuberculosis may, by modification of immune profiles, inhibit atopic disorder.

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