Differences in Innate Cytokine Responses between European and African Children

<div><p>Although differences in immunological responses between populations have been found in terms of vaccine efficacy, immune responses to infections and prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases, the mechanisms responsible for these differences are not well understood. Therefore, innate cytokine responses mediated by various classes of pattern-recognition receptors including Toll-like receptors (TLR), C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) and nucleotide-binding oligomerisation domain-like receptors (NLRs) were compared between Dutch (European), semi-urban and rural Gabonese (African) children. Whole blood was stimulated for 24 hours and the pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and the anti-inflammatory/regulatory interleukin-10 (IL-10) cytokines in culture supernatant were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Gabonese children had a lower pro-inflammatory response to poly(I:C) (TLR3 ligand), but a higher pro-inflammatory response to FSL-1 (TLR2/6 ligand), Pam3 (TLR2/1 ligand) and LPS (TLR4 ligand) compared to Dutch children. Anti-inflammatory responses to Pam3 were also higher in Gabonese children. Non-TLR ligands did not induce substantial cytokine production on their own. Interaction between various TLR and non-TLR receptors was further assessed, but no differences were found between the three populations. In conclusion, using a field applicable assay, significant differences were observed in cytokine responses between European and African children to TLR ligands, but not to non-TLR ligands.</p></div>