Return to Contents in this Issue

Original Article


CD30 Serum Levels and Response to Hymenoptera Venom Immunotherapy


FG Foschi, F Emiliani, S Savini, O Quercia, GF Stefanini

Allergic Unit, Internal Medicine Department, Faenza Hospital, Faenza (RA), Italy

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2008; Vol. 18(4): 279-283



Background: The glycoprotein CD30 is expressed and released by T lymphocytes that secrete type 2 helper cytokines of (TH2). These molecules play a role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. Venom immunotherapy has proven to be very effective in hymenoptera venom allergy through a shift in cytokine production from TH2-type cytokines to TH1-type cytokines.

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between the soluble form of CD30 (sCD30) and venom immunotherapy in patients with hymenoptera venom allergy.

Materials and Methods: sCD30 levels were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the sera of 61 healthy controls and 14 patients with hymenoptera venom allergy who had undergone immunotherapy before treatment and 1, 3, and 12 months after treatment started. Nine patients were allergic to Apis venom, 4 to Vespula venom, and 1 to Polistes venom.

Results: CD30 serum levels (median, interquartile range) were significantly higher in venom-allergic patients before treatment (33.6 U/mL; 14.8-61.6) than in controls (9.7 U/mL, 1.9-21.3) (P < .000). These levels decreased progressively during treatment in all patients except 2 (P < .000). At the third month of therapy, the levels reached statistical significance in comparison with baseline.

Conclusions: This study shows that sCD30 levels are significantly higher in patients with hymenoptera venom allergy and indirectly confirms a preferential TH2-type cytokine production in these patients. sCD30 expression decreases during immunotherapy, thus confirming the immunomodulatory role of this treatment in promoting a shift to TH1-type cytokines.

Key words: Hymenoptera venom. Allergy. CD30 serum levels. Immunotherapy.