Soluble cytokine receptors (SCR) can either act as inhibitors, by competitively inhibiting cytokines from binding to their membrane-bound receptors, or as enhancers, by serving as cytokine carriers. We have previously found that the levels of the Th2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10 were positively correlated to eosinophils and IgE in nasal fluids from 60 children with seasonal allergic rhinitis. In this study, nasal fluids were reexamined to analyze IL-4sR, IL-6sR, IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, IL-1sR2, TNF-sR1, and TNFsR2 in relation to eosinophils, neutrophils, ECP, and IgE. In allergic patients IL-4sR increased significantly during the pollen season, and weak, but positive correlations with IgE and eosinophils were found (r = 0.45, P < 0.001 and r = 0.4, P < 0.001 respectively). By contrast, none of the other SCR showed increases or correlations with IgE. However, positive correlations between IL1 beta, TNF-alpha, IL-6sR, IL-1sR2, TNF-sR1, TNF-sR2, and either neutrophils or ECP were found. Also, in healthy controls, these cytokines and their receptors were positively correlated to neutrophils or ECP. Thus, increased levels of the soluble IL-4 receptor, as well as IgE, were specifically associated with allergic rhinitis, whereas all other SCR correlated with either inflammatory cells or their products, in both allergic and healthy subjects. These results may suggest that SCR in vivo act as cytokine enhancers, rather than inhibitors.
OceanSide Publications, 2000. Vol. 21, no 2, 89-95 p.