Purpose. To investigate helper T (Th) cell subsets and cytokine production
in patients with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada's (VKH) disease.
Methods. Nine patients in the acute stage of VKH disease and 9 healthy cont
rols were studied. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and I
L-4 mRNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was detected by rev
erse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Cytokine levels in plasma, ce
rebrospinal fluid (CSF) and PBMC culture supernatant were measured by enzym
e-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The proportions of each cytokine-prod
ucing CD4+ or CD8+ cells in PBMC cultured with or without anti-CD3 antibody
stimulation were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results. We observed a significant increase of cytokine mRNA positive cases
of VKH patients in comparison with controls only in IFN-gamma mRNA detecti
on from PBMC. ELISA detected IFN-gamma in CSF from only 1 patient and no cy
tokine in plasma. The levels of IFN-gamma and IL-2 were significantly highe
r in the stimulated cell culture supernatant of the patients than those of
controls. The proportions of IFN-gamma- or IL-2-producing CD4+ cells were s
ignificantly higher in the patients than in controls in both stimulated and
unstimulated conditions. However, no significant difference was found in I
L-4-producing CD4+ cells. In CD8+ cells, significant difference was found o
nly in IL-2-producing cells in the stimulated condition.
Conclusions. Th cells from VKH patients produced predominantly Th1 cytokine
s, especially after stimulation in vitro. It is therefore suggested that ac
tivated Th cells produce predominantly Th1 cytokines, which then produce pa