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1.  Protease-Activated Receptor-2 Activation Contributes to House Dust Mite-Induced IgE Responses in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91206.
Aeroallergens such as house dust mite (HDM), cockroach, and grass or tree pollen are innocuous substances that can induce allergic sensitization upon inhalation. The serine proteases present in these allergens are thought to activate the protease-activated receptor (PAR)-2, on the airway epithelium, thereby potentially inducing allergic sensitization at the expense of inhalation tolerance. We hypothesized that the proteolytic activity of allergens may play an important factor in the allergenicity to house dust mite and is essential to overcome airway tolerance. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of PAR-2 activation in allergic sensitization and HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation. In our study, Par-2 deficient mice were treated with two different HDM extracts containing high and low serine protease activities twice a week for a period of 5 weeks. We determined airway inflammation through quantification of percentages of mononuclear cells, eosinophils and neutrophils in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid and measured total IgE and HDM-specific IgE and IgG1 levels in serum. Furthermore, Th2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-5, IL-13, Eotaxin-1, IL-17, KC, Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 17 (CCL17) and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), were measured in lung tissue homogenates. We observed that independent of the serine protease content, HDM was able to induce elevated levels of eosinophils and neutrophils in the airways of both wild-type (WT) and Par-2 deficient mice. Furthermore, we show that induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines by HDM exposure is independent of Par-2 activation. In contrast, serine protease activity of HDM does contribute to enhanced levels of total IgE, but not HDM-specific IgE. We conclude that, while Par-2 activation contributes to the development of IgE responses, it is largely dispensable for the HDM-induced induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and airway inflammation in an experimental mouse model of HDM-driven allergic airway disease.
PMCID: PMC3961228  PMID: 24651123
2.  Immune response to allergens in sheep sensitized to house dust mite 
House dust mite (HDM) allergens are a major cause of allergic asthma. Most studies using animal models of allergic asthma have used rodents sensitized with the 'un-natural' allergen ovalbumin. It has only recently been recognized that the use of animal models based on HDM provide a more relevant insight into the allergen-induced mechanisms that underpin human allergic disease. We have previously described a sheep model of human allergic asthma that uses Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus HDM. The present study extends our understanding of the immune effects of HDM and the allergens Der p 1 and Der p 2 in the sheep model of asthma.
Peripheral blood sera from non-sensitized (control) sheep and sheep sensitized to HDM was collected to determine immunoglobulin (Ig) reactivities to HDM, Der p 1 and Der p 2 by ELISA. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid collected following allergen challenge was also assessed for the presence of HDM-specific antibodies. To examine the cellular immune response to HDM allergens, T cell proliferation and cutaneous responses were assessed in sensitized and control sheep.
Strong HDM- and Der p 1-specific IgE, IgG1, IgG2 and IgA serum responses were observed in sensitized sheep, while detectable levels of HDM-specific IgG1 and IgA were seen in BAL fluid of allergen-challenged lungs. In contrast, minimal antibody reactivity was observed to Der p 2. Marked T cell proliferation and late phase cutaneous responses, accompanied by the recruitment of eosinophils, indicates the induction of a cellular and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) type II response by HDM and Der p 1 allergen, but not Der p 2.
This work characterizes the humoral and cellular immune effects of HDM extract and its major constituent allergens in sheep sensitized to HDM. The effects of allergen in HDM-sensitized sheep were detectable both locally and systemically, and probably mediated via enzymatic and immune actions of the major HDM allergen Der p 1. This study extends our understanding of the actions of this important allergen relevant to human allergic asthma and its effects in sheep experimentally sensitized to HDM allergens.
PMCID: PMC2577637  PMID: 18937841
3.  House Dust Mite Allergy in Korea: The Most Important Inhalant Allergen in Current and Future 
The house-dust mite (HDM), commonly found in human dwellings, is an important source of inhalant and contact allergens. In this report, the importance of HDM allergy in Korea and the characteristics of allergens from dust mite are reviewed with an emphasis on investigations performed in Korea. In Korea, Dermatophagoides farinae is the dominant species of HDM, followed by D. pteronyssinus. Tyrophagus putrescentiae is also found in Korea, but its role in respiratory allergic disease in Korea is controversial. The relatively low densities of mite populations and concentrations of mite major allergens in dust samples from Korean homes, compared to westernized countries, are thought to reflect not only different climatic conditions, but also cultural differences, such as the use of 'ondol' under-floor heating systems in Korean houses. HDM are found in more than 90% of Korean houses, and the level of exposure to HDM is clinically significant. About 40%-60% of Korean patients suffering from respiratory allergies, and more than 40% of patients suffering from atopic dermatitis, are sensitized to HDM. Mite allergens can be summarized according to their inherent auto-adjuvant activities and/or their binding affinities to the adjuvant-like substances: proteolytic enzymes, lipid binding proteins, chitin binding proteins, and allergens not associated with adjuvant-like activity. In general, allergens with a strong adjuvant-like activity or adjuvant-binding activity elicit potent IgE reactivity. In Korea, Der f 2 is the most potent allergen, followed by Der f 1. Immune responses are modulated by the properties of the allergen itself and by the adjuvant-like substances that are concomitantly administered with the antigens. Characterization of allergenic molecules and elucidation of mechanisms by which adjuvant-like molecules modulate allergic reactions, not only in Korea but also worldwide, will provide valuable information on allergic diseases, and are necessary for the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3479224  PMID: 23115727
Allergen; allergy; house dust mite; Korea
4.  SQ-standardized house dust mite immunotherapy as an immunomodulatory treatment in patients with asthma 
Allergy  2011;66(2):178-185.
Specific immunotherapy is the only treatment with the potential to prevent progression of the allergic disease and the potential to cure patients. The immunomodulatory ability of SQ-standardized house dust mite (HDM) subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) was investigated in patients with allergic asthma.
Fifty-four adults with HDM-allergic asthma were randomized 1 : 1 to receive SQ-standardized HDM SCIT (ALK) or placebo for 3 years. At baseline, and after 1, 2 and 3 years of treatment, the lowest possible inhaled corticosteroid dose required to maintain asthma control was determined, followed by determinations of nonspecific and HDM-allergen-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness, late asthmatic reaction (LAR), immediate and late-phase skin reactions, and immunological response.
SQ-standardized HDM SCIT provided a statistically significantly higher HDM-allergen tolerance (P < 0.05 vs placebo) in terms of a 1.6-fold increase in PD20 (HDM-allergen inhalation challenge), a 60-fold increase in skin test histamine equivalent HDM-allergen concentrations, reduced immediate- and reduced or abolished late-phase skin reactions, as well as fewer patients with LAR. PD20 (methacholine inhalation challenge) increased initially and was similar between groups. House dust mite SCIT induced an initial increase in serum HDM-allergen-specific IgE (P = 0.028 vs placebo), which then declined to baseline value. House dust mite SCIT induced an increase in components blocking IgE binding to allergen [ΔIgE-blocking factor: 0.31; 95% CI of (0.26; 0.37)] after 1 year that remained constant after 2 and 3 years (P < 0.0001 vs placebo).
SQ-standardized HDM SCIT induced a consistent immunomodulatory effect in adults with HDM-allergic asthma; the humoral immune response was changed and the HDM-allergen tolerance in lung and skin increased.
PMCID: PMC3039748  PMID: 20883456
allergic asthma; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; house dust mite; immune response; immunotherapy
5.  Protective effect of the DNA vaccine encoding the major house dust mite allergens on allergic inflammation in the murine model of house dust mite allergy 
Vaccination with naked DNA encoding antigen induces cellular and humoral immunity characterized by the activation of specific Th1 cells.
To evaluate the effects of vaccination with mixed naked DNA plasmids encoding Der p 1, Der p 2, Der p 3, Der f 1, Der f 2, and Der f 3, the major house dust mite allergens on the allergic inflammation to the whole house dust mites (HDM) crude extract.
Three hundred micrograms of these gene mixtures were injected into muscle of BALB/c mice. Control mice were injected with the pcDNA 3.1 blank vector. After 3 weeks, the mice were actively sensitized and inhaled with the whole house dust mite extract intranasally.
The vaccinated mice showed a significantly decreased synthesis of total and HDM-specific IgE compared with controls. Analysis of the cytokine profile of lymphocytes after challenge with HDM crude extract revealed that mRNA expression of interferon-γ was higher in the vaccinated mice than in the controls. Reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells and the prominent infiltration of CD8+ T cells were observed in histology of lung tissue from the vaccinated mice.
Vaccination with DNA encoding the major house dust mite allergens provides a promising approach for treating allergic responses to whole house dust mite allergens.
PMCID: PMC1402316  PMID: 16504003
6.  Interleukin-1α controls allergic sensitization to inhaled house dust mite via the epithelial release of GM-CSF and IL-33 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(8):1505-1517.
IL-1α promotes a cascade of cytokine production from epithelial cells culminating in Th2 immunity to house dust mite allergens.
House dust mite (HDM) is one of the most common allergens worldwide. In this study, we have addressed the involvement of IL-1 in the interaction between HDM and the innate immune response driven by lung epithelial cells (ECs) and dendritic cells (DCs) that leads to asthma. Mice lacking IL-1R on radioresistant cells, but not hematopoietic cells, failed to mount a Th2 immune response and did not develop asthma to HDM. Experiments performed in vivo and in isolated air–liquid interface cultures of bronchial ECs showed that TLR4 signals induced the release of IL-1α, which then acted in an autocrine manner to trigger the release of DC-attracting chemokines, GM-CSF, and IL-33. Consequently, allergic sensitization to HDM was abolished in vivo when IL-1α, GM-CSF, or IL-33 was neutralized. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) became important only when high doses of allergen were administered. These findings put IL-1α upstream in the cytokine cascade leading to epithelial and DC activation in response to inhaled HDM allergen.
PMCID: PMC3409497  PMID: 22802353
7.  Innate Immune Response of Alveolar Macrophage to House Dust Mite Allergen Is Mediated through TLR2/-4 Co-Activation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75983.
House dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p), is one of the major allergens responsible for allergic asthma. However, the putative receptors involved in the signalization of Der p to the innate immune cells are still poorly defined as well as the impact of their activation on the outcome of the allergen-induced cell response. We previously reported that the HDM activation of mouse alveolar macrophages (AM) involves the TLR4/CD14 cell surface receptor complex. Here using a TLR ligand screening essay, we demonstrate that HDM protein extract engages the TLR2, in addition to the TLR4, in engineered TLR-transfected HEK cells but also in the MH-S mouse alveolar macrophage cell line model. Moreover we found that the concomitant recruitment of the MH-S cell’s TLR2 and TLR4 receptors by the HDM extract activates the MyD88-dependent signaling pathway and leads to the secretion of the NF-κB regulated pro-inflammatory factors NO and TNF-α. However unlike with the canonical TLR4 ligand (i.e. the bacterial LPS) mobilization of TLR4 by the HDM extract induces a reduced production of the IL-12 pro-inflammatory cytokine and fails to trigger the expression of the T-bet transcription factor. Finally we demonstrated that HDM extract down-regulates LPS induced IL-12 and T-bet expression through a TLR2 dependent mechanism. Therefore, we propose that the simultaneous engagement of the TLR2 and TLR4 receptors by the HDM extract results in a cross regulated original activation pattern of the AM which may contribute to the Th2 polarization of the allergen-induced immune response. The deciphering of these cross-regulation networks is of prime importance to open the way for original therapeutic strategies taking advantage of these receptors and their associated signaling pathways to treat allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC3787959  PMID: 24098413
8.  Saturation of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Binding Sites by Polyclonal IgE Does Not Explain the Protective Effect of Helminth Infections against Atopy  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(7):4106-4111.
One hypothesis for the decreased rates of atopy observed among helminth-infected individuals is that parasite-induced polyclonal immunoglobulin E (IgE) outcompetes allergen-specific IgE for FcɛRI binding on basophils and mast cells. In experiments with fresh blood drawn from filaria-infected patients, we found no association between ratios of polyclonal to Brugia malayi antigen (BmAg)-specific IgE (range, 14:1 to 388:1) and basophil responses to BmAg as measured by histamine release. Using serum samples from a filaria-infected patient who also had dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus)-specific IgE antibodies from time points with various ratios of polyclonal to D. pteronyssinus-specific IgE (16:1 to 86:1), we demonstrated that increased ratios of polyclonal to D. pteronyssinus-specific IgE did not attenuate basophil sensitization as measured by D. pteronyssinus-specific histamine release. Suppression of histamine release was likely not observed in either of these sets of experiments because polyclonal to antigen-specific IgE ratios were not sufficiently high, as concurrent passive sensitization of basophil experiments required ratios of polyclonal to antigen-specific IgE of greater than 500:1 to suppress basophil histamine release. Further, the intensity of IgE staining in basophil populations from 20 patients with active filaria infections correlated strongly with total serum IgE levels (rho = 0.698; P = 0.0024) with no plateau in intensity of IgE staining, even though some patients had total IgE levels of greater than 10,000 ng/ml. Our data therefore suggest that in helminth infections (and in filarial infections in particular), the ratios of polyclonal to allergen-specific IgE rarely reach those levels necessary to inhibit allergen-specific IgE-FcɛRI binding and to suppress allergen-induced degranulation of mast cells and basophils.
PMCID: PMC1168579  PMID: 15972499
9.  Cough receptor sensitivity to capsaicin does not change after allergen bronchoprovocation in allergic asthma 
Thorax  2003;58(1):19-22.
Background: The relationship between cough receptor sensitivity and eosinophilic inflammation of the airway in patients with asthma remains unclear.
Methods: Eighteen patients with asthma sensitised to house dust mite (HDM) were enrolled in a randomised parallel group study. Patients with asthma whose main symptom was cough were not enrolled in the study. Half the patients were randomly assigned to inhale saline and the other half to inhale HDM allergen. Cough receptor sensitivity to capsaicin, airway responsiveness to histamine, and sputum eosinophils analysed with hypertonic saline inhalation were investigated before and 24 hours after saline or HDM allergen bronchoprovocation.
Results: Patients inhaling saline showed no significant changes in sputum eosinophils (from 7.87% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.08 to 12.19) to 8.60% (95% CI 3.03 to 14.18); p=0.97), airway responsiveness to histamine (from 726.68 µg/ml (95% CI 251.90 to 2096.36) to 773.01 µg/ml (95% CI 251.36 to 2377.23); p=0.96), or capsaicin sensitivity (from 7.23 µM (95% CI 2.45 to 21.31) to 7.24 µM (95% CI 2.46 to 21.31); p=0.96). Early asthmatic response was induced in all patients, and late asthmatic response was observed in six of nine patients inhaling HDM allergen. Although there were significant increases in sputum eosinophils (from 9.83% (95% CI 6.78 to 14.27) to 21.00% (95% CI 13.85 to 28.15); p<0.01) and airway responsiveness to histamine (from 784.16 µg/ml (95% CI 318.24 to 1932.24) to 377.81 µg/ml (95% CI 118.43 to 1205.24); p<0.05) 24 hours after HDM allergen inhalation compared with baseline levels, capsaicin sensitivity did not change significantly (from 5.75 µM (95% CI 1.91 to 17.30) to 6.20 µM (95% CI 2.21 to 17.38); p=0.77).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that cough receptor sensitivity to capsaicin is not associated with eosinophilic inflammation of the airway in patients with allergic asthma whose main symptoms are wheezing and dyspnoea but not cough.
PMCID: PMC1746455  PMID: 12511713
10.  Suppression of Basophil Histamine Release and Other IgE-dependent Responses in Childhood Schistosoma mansoni/hookworm Coinfection 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;210(8):1198-1206.
Background. The poor correlation between allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (asIgE) and clinical signs of allergy in helminth infected populations suggests that helminth infections could protect against allergy by uncoupling asIgE from its effector mechanisms. We investigated this hypothesis in Ugandan schoolchildren coinfected with Schistosoma mansoni and hookworm.
Methods. Skin prick test (SPT) sensitivity to house dust mite allergen (HDM) and current wheeze were assessed pre-anthelmintic treatment. Nonspecific (anti-IgE), helminth-specific, and HDM-allergen-specific basophil histamine release (HR), plus helminth- and HDM-specific IgE and IgG4 responses were measured pre- and post-treatment.
Results. Nonspecific- and helminth-specific-HR, and associations between helminth-specific IgE and helminth-specific HR increased post-treatment. Hookworm infection appeared to modify the relationship between circulating levels of HDM-IgE and HR: a significant positive association was observed among children without detectable hookworm infection, but no association was observed among infected children. In addition, hookworm infection was associated with a significantly reduced risk of wheeze, and IgG4 to somatic adult hookworm antigen with a reduced risk of HDM-SPT sensitivity. There was no evidence for S. mansoni infection having a similar suppressive effect on HDM-HR or symptoms of allergy.
Conclusions. Basophil responsiveness appears suppressed during chronic helminth infection; at least in hookworm infection, this suppression may protect against allergy.
PMCID: PMC4176447  PMID: 24782451
Schistosoma mansoni; schistosomiasis; hookworm; helminth infection; allergy; skin prick test; wheeze; basophils; histamine release; house dust mite
11.  A Controlled Challenge Study on Di(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP) in House Dust and the Immune Response in Human Nasal Mucosa of Allergic Subjects 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(11):1487-1493.
Few studies have yet addressed the effects of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in house dust on human nasal mucosa.
We investigated the effects of house dust containing DEHP on nasal mucosa of healthy and house dust mite (HDM)–allergic subjects in a short-term exposure setting.
We challenged 16 healthy and 16 HDM-allergic subjects for 3 hr with house dust at a concentration of 300 μg/m3 containing either low (0.41 mg/g) or high (2.09 mg/g) levels of DEHP. Exposure to filtered air served as control. After exposure, we measured proteins and performed a DNA microarray analysis.
Nasal exposure to house dust with low or high DEHP had no effect on symptom scores. Healthy subjects had almost no response to inhaled dust, but HDM-allergic subjects showed varied responses: DEHPlow house dust increased eosinophil cationic protein, granulocyte-colony–stimulating factor (G-CSF), interleukin (IL)-5, and IL-6, whereas DEHPhigh house dust decreased G-CSF and IL-6. Furthermore, in healthy subjects, DEHP concentration resulted in 10 differentially expressed genes, whereas 16 genes were differentially expressed in HDM-allergic subjects, among them anti-Müllerian hormone, which was significantly up-regulated after exposure to DEHPhigh house dust compared with exposure to DEHPlow house dust, and fibroblast growth factor 9, IL-6, and transforming growth factor-β1, which were down-regulated.
Short-term exposure to house dust with high concentrations of DEHP has attenuating effects on human nasal immune response in HDM-allergic subjects, concerning both gene expression and cytokines.
PMCID: PMC2592268  PMID: 19057701
allergy; cytokines; DEHP; di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; house dust; hypersensitivity; microarray analysis; nasal challenge; nasal exposure system; nasal mucosa
12.  The Innate Immune Response in House Dust Mite-Induced Allergic Inflammation 
Hypersensitivity to house dust mite (HDM; Dermatophagoides sp.) allergens is one of the most common allergic responses, affecting up to 85% of asthmatics. Sensitization to indoor allergens is the strongest independent risk factor associated with asthma. Additionally, >50% of children and adolescents with asthma are sensitized to HDM. Although allergen-specific CD4+ Th2 cells orchestrate the HDM allergic response through induction of IgE directed toward mite allergens, activation of innate immunity also plays a critical role in HDM-induced allergic inflammation. This review highlights the HDM components that lead to activation of the innate immune response. Activation may due to HDM proteases. Proteases may be recognized by protease-activation receptors (PARs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), or C-type lectin receptors (CTRs), or act as a molecular mimic for PAMP activation signaling pathways. Understanding the role of mite allergen-induced innate immunity will facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies that exploit innate immunity receptors and associated signaling pathways for the treatment of allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC3579094  PMID: 23450108
House dust mites; innate immunity; toll-like receptors; C-type lectin receptors; dendritic cells
13.  IgE cross-reactivity between house dust mite allergens and Ascaris lumbricoides antigens 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2012;2(1):35-44.
Common antigens between intestinal parasites and environmental allergens may play a role in the modulation of allergic immune responses. There is a growing interest in investigating cross-reactivity between common helminths and dust mites affecting humans, particularly in the tropics.
This study examined the cross-reactivity between the human roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides (Al) and three house dust mite (HDM) species.
Specific serum IgE levels to HDM species Blomia tropicalis (Bt), Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp), and Dermatophagoides farinae (Df ); and Al extracts among allergic (n=100) and ascariasis (n=60) subjects were measured through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). IgE-reactive components of HDM and Al extracts were detected through Western-Blot Analysis. Cross-reactivity between HDMs and Al was determined by ELISA inhibition using HDM and Al-specific sera from allergic (n=15) and ascariasis (n=15) subjects. The IgE-binding capacity of a recombinant paramyosin peptide (Blo t 11-fD) to allergic (n=50) and ascariasis (n=50) subjects' sera were likewise determined.
Among allergic subjects, 70% exhibited Al-specific positive IgE-reactivity, while 20-28% of ascariasis subjects demonstrated HDM-specific positive IgE-reactivity. Multiple IgE-reactive components of HDM allergens (14-240 kDa) and Al antigens (15-250 kDa) were detected, indicating multi-allergen sensitization among the subjects tested. Al antigens can inhibit up to 92% of HDM-specific IgE-reactivity among allergic subjects, while up to 54% of Al-specific IgE-reactivity among ascariasis subjects was inhibited by HDM allergens. Positive rBlo t 11-fD-specific IgE reactivity was observed in 80% of the allergic subjects and 46% of the ascariasis subjects.
This study showed the presence of multiple cross-reactive antigens in HDM and Al extracts. Identification of these molecules may provide basis for designing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The potential role of paramyosin as a specific cross-reactive allergen present in HDMs and Al has been shown.
PMCID: PMC3269600  PMID: 22348205
Atopy; Immunity; Infection; Paramyosin; Parasitism
14.  Innate immune responses of airway epithelium to house dust mite are mediated through β-glucan–dependent pathways 
House dust mite (HDM) induces allergic asthma in sensitized individuals, although the mechanisms by which HDM is sensed and recognized by the airway mucosa, leading to dendritic cell (DC) recruitment, activation, and subsequent TH2-mediated responses, are unknown.
We sought to define the pathways by which HDM activates respiratory epithelium to induce allergic airway responses.
Using a human airway epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-), we studied secretion of the DC chemokine CCL20 after exposure to HDM or other allergens, investigated components of the HDM responsible for the induction of chemokine release, and examined activation of signaling pathways. Central findings were also confirmed in primary human bronchial cells.
We demonstrate that exposure of airway epithelium to HDM results in specific and rapid secretion of CCL20, a chemokine attractant for immature DCs. The induction of CCL20 secretion is dose and time dependent and quite specific to HDM because other allergens, such as ragweed pollen and cockroach antigen, fail to significantly induce CCL20 secretion. Induction of CCL20 secretion is not protease or Toll-like receptor 2/4 dependent but, interestingly, relies on β-glucan moieties within the HDM extract, as evidenced by the ability of other β-glucans to competitively inhibit its secretion and by the fact that disruption of these structures by treatment of HDM with β-glucanase significantly reduces subsequent chemokine secretion.
Taken together, our results describe a novel mechanism for specific pattern recognition of HDM-derived β-glucan moieties, which initiates allergic airway inflammation and, through recruitment of DCs, might link innate pattern recognition at the airway surface with adaptive immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2761684  PMID: 19178937
Asthma; allergy; house dust mite; epithelium; dendritic cell; chemokine; pattern recognition; innate immunity
15.  Down-Regulation of FcεRI-Mediated CD63 Basophil Response during Short-Term VIT Determined Venom-Nonspecific Desensitization 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94762.
We recently showed a desensitization of FcεRI-mediated basophil response after short-term VIT. Our aim was to evaluate the allergen specificity of this desensitization.
In 11 Hymenoptera-venom double positive subjects, basophil threshold sensitivity (CD-sens) to anti-FcεRI, honeybee, and Vespula venom was assessed at the beginning and just before the first maintenance dose (MD) of single ultra-rush VIT. In some patients we also monitored CD-sens to rApi m 1 and/or rVes v 5 or other co-sensitizations (i.e., grass pollen). In additional 7 patients, basophils were stripped and sensitized with house dust mite (HDM) IgEs at the same time points.
We demonstrated a marked reduction of CD-sens to anti-FcεRI and VIT-specific venom before the first MD in all 18 subjects included. Furthermore, in 10 out of 11 double positive subjects, a significant and comparable decrease before the first MD was also evident for non-VIT venom; this nonspecific decrease was further supported by the opposite recombinant species-specific major allergen. In one subject with additional grass pollen allergy, a decrease of CD-sens to grass allergen was also demonstrated. Similarly, in 7 cases of patients with passively HDM-sensitized basophils, a significant reduction of CD-sens was also evident to de novo sensitized HDM allergen.
Short-term VIT induced basophil desensitization to VIT-specific as well as to VIT-nonspecific venom. As opposed to long-term VIT, which induces venom-specific changes, the effect of short-term VIT seems to be venom-nonspecific.
PMCID: PMC3986393  PMID: 24733549
16.  Associations of allergic sensitization and clinical phenotypes with innate immune response genes polymorphisms are modified by house dust mite allergen exposure 
Archives of Medical Science : AMS  2011;7(6):1029-1036.
Polymorphisms within innate immunity genes are associated with allergic phenotypes but results are variable. These associations were not analyzed with respect to allergen exposure. We investigated associations of TLR and CD14 polymorphisms with allergy phenotypes in the context of house dust mite (HDM) exposure.
Material and methods
Children, aged 12-16 years (n=326), were recruited from downtown and rural locations and assessed by allergist. Skin prick tests, total and HDM-specific sIgE measurements were done. HDM allergen concentrations in dust were measured. Genetic polymorphisms were identified using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).
Allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopy were more prevalent in urban area. Although HDM allergen concentrations were higher in rural households, sIgE were present more frequently in urban children. In the whole population no association was found between HDM exposure and sensitization. In children with CD14/−159CC, CD14/−159TT and TLR9/2848GA genotypes increased exposure to HDM was associated with reduced incidence of allergic rhinitis. Significant associations of increased HDM exposure with reduced incidence of atopy were found for the whole population and subjects with CD14/−159CC, CD14/−1359GT, TLR4/896AA and TLR9/2848GA genotypes. Among children with CD14/−159CC and CD14/−1359GG significant positive correlation between HDM allergen concentrations in household and sensitization to HDM was observed. In contrast, protective effect of high HDM allergen exposure against specific sensitization was seen in subjects with TLR4/896 AG.
Development of specific sensitization and allergy may be associated with innate immune response genes polymorphisms and is modified by allergen exposure.
PMCID: PMC3264996  PMID: 22328887
allergy; CD14; toll-like receptors; house dust mite exposure; polymorphism
17.  Paradoxical Effects of Rapamycin on Experimental House Dust Mite-Induced Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e33984.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) modulates immune responses and cellular proliferation. The objective of this study was to assess whether inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin modifies disease severity in two experimental murine models of house dust mite (HDM)-induced asthma. In an induction model, rapamycin was administered to BALB/c mice coincident with nasal HDM challenges for 3 weeks. In a treatment model, nasal HDM challenges were performed for 6 weeks and rapamycin treatment was administered during weeks 4 through 6. In the induction model, rapamycin significantly attenuated airway inflammation, airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and goblet cell hyperplasia. In contrast, treatment of established HDM-induced asthma with rapamycin exacerbated AHR and airway inflammation, whereas goblet cell hyperplasia was not modified. Phosphorylation of the S6 ribosomal protein, which is downstream of mTORC1, was increased after 3 weeks, but not 6 weeks of HDM-challenge. Rapamycin reduced S6 phosphorylation in HDM-challenged mice in both the induction and treatment models. Thus, the paradoxical effects of rapamycin on asthma severity paralleled the activation of mTOR signaling. Lastly, mediastinal lymph node re-stimulation experiments showed that treatment of rapamycin-naive T cells with ex vivo rapamycin decreased antigen-specific Th2 cytokine production, whereas prior exposure to in vivo rapamycin rendered T cells refractory to the suppressive effects of ex vivo rapamycin. We conclude that rapamycin had paradoxical effects on the pathogenesis of experimental HDM-induced asthma. Thus, consistent with the context-dependent effects of rapamycin on inflammation, the timing of mTOR inhibition may be an important determinant of efficacy and toxicity in HDM-induced asthma.
PMCID: PMC3368343  PMID: 22685525
18.  Peptidoglycan Recognition Protein Pglyrp1 Enhances Experimental Asthma by Promoting Th2 and Th17 and Limiting Regulatory T Cell and Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Responses 
Asthma is a common inflammatory disease involving crosstalk between innate and adaptive immunity. We reveal that antibacterial innate immunity protein, peptidoglycan recognition protein 1 (Pglyrp1), is involved in the development of allergic asthma. Pglyrp1−/− mice developed less severe asthma than wild type (WT) mice following sensitization with house dust mite (HDM) allergen. HDM-sensitized Pglyrp1−/− mice, compared with WT mice, had diminished: bronchial hyper-responsiveness (lung airway resistance); numbers of eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lungs; inflammatory cell infiltrates in the lungs around bronchi, bronchioles, and pulmonary arteries and veins; lung remodeling (mucin-producing goblet cell hyperplasia and metaplasia and smooth muscle hypertrophy and fibrosis); levels of IgE, eotaxins, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-17 in the lungs; and numbers of Th2 and Th17 cells and expression of their marker genes in the lungs. The mechanism underlying this decreased sensitivity of Pglyrp1−/− mice to asthma was increased generation and activation of CD8α+β+ and CD8α+β− plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) and increased recruitment and activity of regulatory T (Treg) cells in the lungs. In vivo depletion of pDC in HDM-sensitized Pglyrp1−/− mice reversed the low responsive asthma phenotype of Pglyrp1−/− mice to resemble the more severe WT phenotype. Thus, Pglyrp1−/− mice efficiently control allergic asthma by up-regulating pDC and Treg cells in the lungs, whereas in WT mice Pglyrp1 is proinflammatory and decreases pDC and Treg, and increases pro-asthmatic Th2 and Th17 responses. Blocking Pglyrp1 or enhancing pDC in the lungs may be beneficial for prevention and treatment of asthma.
PMCID: PMC3608703  PMID: 23420883
19.  Peptidoglycan Recognition Protein 1 Promotes House Dust Mite–Induced Airway Inflammation in Mice 
Peptidoglycan recognition protein (Pglyrp) 1 is a pattern-recognition protein that mediates antibacterial host defense. Because we had previously shown that Pglyrp1 expression is increased in the lungs of house dust mite (HDM)-challenged mice, we hypothesized that it might modulate the pathogenesis of asthma. Wild-type and Pglyrp1−/− mice on a BALB/c background received intranasal HDM or saline, 5 days/week for 3 weeks. HDM-challenged Pglyrp1−/− mice showed decreases in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid eosinophils and lymphocytes, serum IgE, and mucous cell metaplasia, whereas airway hyperresponsiveness was not changed when compared with wild-type mice. T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines were reduced in the lungs of HDM-challenged Pglyrp1−/− mice, which reflected a decreased number of CD4+ Th2 cells. There was also a reduction in C-C chemokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung homogenates from HDM-challenged Pglyrp1−/− mice. Furthermore, secretion of CCL17, CCL22, and CCL24 by alveolar macrophages from HDM-challenged Pglyrp1−/− mice was markedly reduced. As both inflammatory cells and airway epithelial cells express Pglyrp1, bone marrow transplantation was performed to generate chimeric mice and assess which cell type promotes HDM-induced airway inflammation. Chimeric mice lacking Pglyrp1 on hematopoietic cells, not structural cells, showed a reduction in HDM-induced eosinophilic and lymphocytic airway inflammation. We conclude that Pglyrp1 expressed by hematopoietic cells, such as alveolar macrophages, mediates HDM-induced airway inflammation by up-regulating the production of C-C chemokines that recruit eosinophils and Th2 cells to the lung. This identifies a new family of innate immune response proteins that promotes HDM-induced airway inflammation in asthma.
PMCID: PMC3931111  PMID: 23808363
asthma; house dust mite; innate immunity; pattern recognition proteins; peptidoglycan recognition protein 1
20.  Increased CCL24/Eotaxin-2 with Postnatal Ozone Exposure in Allergen-Sensitized Infant Monkeys Is Not Associated with Recruitment of Eosinophils to Airway Mucosa 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2011;257(3):309-318.
Epidemiology supports a causal link between air pollutant exposure and childhood asthma, but the mechanisms are unknown. We have previously reported that ozone exposure can alter the anatomic distribution of CD25+ lymphocytes in airways of allergen-sensitized infant rhesus monkeys. Here, we hypothesized that ozone may also affect eosinophil trafficking to allergen-sensitized infant airways. To test this hypothesis, we measured blood, lavage, and airway mucosa eosinophils in 3-month old monkeys following cyclical ozone and house dust mite (HDM) aerosol exposures. We also determined if eotaxin family members (CCL11, CCL24, CCL26) are associated with eosinophil location in response to exposures. In lavage, eosinophil numbers increased in animals exposed to ozone and/or HDM. Ozone + HDM animals showed significantly increased CCL24 and CCL26 protein in lavage, but the concentration of CCL11, CCL24, and CCL26 was independent of eosinophil number for all exposure groups. In airway mucosa, eosinophils increased with exposure to HDM alone; comparatively, ozone and ozone + HDM resulted in reduced eosinophils. CCL26 mRNA and immunofluorescence staining increased in airway mucosa of HDM alone animals and correlated with eosinophil volume. In ozone + HDM animal groups, CCL24 mRNA and immunofluorescence increased along with CCR3 mRNA, but did not correlate with airway mucosa eosinophils. Cumulatively, our data indicate that ozone exposure results in a profile of airway eosinophil migration that is distinct from HDM mediated pathways. CCL24 was found to be induced only by combined ozone and HDM exposure, however expression was not associated with the presence of eosinophils within the airway mucosa.
PMCID: PMC3226879  PMID: 21945493
ozone; allergen; infant; lung; eosinophil; chemokine
21.  Early-life exposure to combustion-derived particulate matter causes pulmonary immunosuppression 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(3):694-704.
Elevated levels of combustion-derived particulate matter (CDPM) are a risk factor for the development of lung diseases such as asthma. Studies have shown that CDPM exacerbates asthma, inducing acute lung dysfunction and inflammation; however, the impact of CDPM exposure on early immunological responses to allergens remains unclear. To determine the effects of early-life CDPM exposure on allergic asthma development in infants, we exposed infant mice to CDPM and then induced a mouse model of asthma using house dust mite (HDM) allergen. Mice exposed to CDPM+HDM failed to develop a typical asthma phenotype including airway hyperresponsiveness, Th2-inflammation, Muc5ac expression, eosinophilia, and HDM-specific Ig compared to HDM-exposed mice. Although HDM-specific IgE was attenuated, total IgE was two-fold higher in CDPM+HDM mice compared to HDM-mice. We further demonstrate that CDPM exposure during early life induced an immunosuppressive environment in the lung, concurrent with increases in tolerogenic dendritic cells and Tregs, resulting in suppression of Th2 responses. Despite having early immunosuppression, these mice develop severe allergic inflammation when challenged with allergen as adults. These findings demonstrate a mechanism whereby CDPM exposure modulates adaptive immunity, inducing specific-antigen tolerance while amplifying total IgE, and leading to a predisposition to develop asthma upon rechallenge later in life.
PMCID: PMC3999175  PMID: 24172848
particulate matter; immunosuppression; neonatal
22.  Innate Immune Responses in House Dust Mite Allergy 
ISRN Allergy  2013;2013:735031.
Sensitizations to house dust mites (HDM) trigger strong exacerbated allergen-induced inflammation of the skin and airways mucosa from atopic subjects resulting in atopic dermatitis as well as allergic rhinitis and asthma. Initially, the Th2-biased HDM allergic response was considered to be mediated only by allergen B- and T-cell epitopes to promote allergen-specific IgE production as well as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 to recruit inflammatory cells. But this general molecular model of HDM allergenicity must be revisited as a growing literature suggests that stimulations of innate immune activation pathways by HDM allergens offer new answers to the following question: what makes an HDM allergen an allergen? Indeed, HDM is a carrier not only for allergenic proteins but also microbial adjuvant compounds, both of which are able to stimulate innate signaling pathways leading to allergy. This paper will describe the multiple ways used by HDM allergens together with microbial compounds to control the initiation of the allergic response through engagement of innate immunity.
PMCID: PMC3658386  PMID: 23724247
23.  Expression and Roles of MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-13, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 in Allergic Nasal Mucosa 
Allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma share many characteristics, but structural changes are observed far less often in AR. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) constitute a family of Zn-dependent endopeptidases that can decompose the extracellular matrix and basement membrane, and regulate cell infiltration. We analyzed the expression of MMPs and their inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), in allergic nasal mucosa after nasal allergen challenge (NAC) and determined their relationship to inflammatory cells.
Nasal mucosa specimens were obtained at surgery performed for hypertrophied turbinates. We performed NAC with house dust mite (HDM) allergen disks and control disks, and took biopsies at 30 minutes, 6 hours, and 12 hours after NAC. Cells expressing MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-13, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2, as well as eosinophils and mast cells, were analyzed immunohistochemically. The MMPs and TIMPs in allergic nasal mucosa were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
At 30 minutes post-NAC, HDM-exposed nasal mucosa exhibited significantly more MMP-2+, MMP-9+, MMP-13+, TIMP-1+, and TIMP-2+ cells compared with control mucosa, and the numbers of MMP-9+ and TIMP-1+ cells correlated strongly with the number of mast cells. At 6 hours post-NAC, the numbers of MMP+ and TIMP+ cells did not differ significantly between HDM-exposed mucosa and control mucosa, but the ratios of MMP+ cells to TIMP+ cells were higher in HDM-exposed mucosa. At 12 hours post-NAC, the number of MMP-13+ cells tended to be higher in HDM-exposed mucosa and was strongly correlated with the number of eosinophils. Quantitatively, the levels of MMP-2 and MMP-13 were significantly higher than the MMP-9 level, and the TIMP-2 level was significantly higher than the TIMP-1 level in allergic nasal mucosa.
We demonstrated increased expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, and MMP-13 in allergic nasal mucosa, high MMPs-to-TIMP-1 ratios, and a strong correlation between MMP-9 and mast cells and between MMP-13 and eosinophils. The imbalance between MMPs and TIMPs may contribute to the migration of inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and mast cells to the nasal mucosa of AR patients, suggesting a possible active role of MMPs in AR.
PMCID: PMC3378930  PMID: 22754717
Allergic rhinitis; MMP; TIMP; cell infiltration; mast cells; eosinophils
24.  House dust mite allergen induces asthma via TLR4 triggering of airway structural cells 
Nature medicine  2009;15(4):410-416.
Barrier epithelial cells and airway dendritic cells (DC) make up the first line of defence against inhaled substances like house dust mite (HDM) allergen and endotoxin. We hypothesized that these cells need to communicate to cause allergic disease. Using irradiated chimeric mice, we demonstrate that TLR4 expression on radioresistant lung structural cells is required and sufficient for DC activation in the lung and for priming of effector T helper responses to HDM. TLR4 triggering on structural cells caused production of the innate proallergic cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, interleukin-25 and IL-33. The absence of TLR4 on structural cells, but not on hematopoietic cells, abolished HDM driven allergic airway inflammation. Finally, inhalation of a TLR4 antagonist to target exposed epithelial cells suppressed the salient features of asthma including bronchial hyperreactivity. Our data identify an innate immune function of airway epithelial cells that drives allergic inflammation via activation of mucosal DCs.
PMCID: PMC2789255  PMID: 19330007
25.  Pulmonary Allergic Responses Augment IL-13 Secretion by Circulating Basophils yet Suppress IFN-alpha from Plasmacytoid DCs 
Allergic inflammatory processes may have the capacity to propagate systemically through the actions of circulating leukocytes. Consequently, basophils from allergic individuals are often “primed”, as evidenced by their hyper-responsiveness in vitro. IFN-α, secreted predominately by plasmacytoid DCs, suppresses basophil priming for IL-13 production in vitro.
This study sought in vivo correlates, arising during experimental allergen challenge, that support an “axis-interplay” between basophils and pDCs.
Using segmental allergen challenge in the lung, the immune responses of both cell types from blood were investigated in volunteers (n=10) before and 24h after allergen exposure. These responses were then correlated with inflammatory parameters measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids.
In blood, segmental allergen challenge significantly augmented IL-13 secretion by basophils induced by IL-3 (p=0.009) yet reduced IFN-α secreted by plasmacytoid dendritic cells stimulated with CpG (p=0.018). Both parameters were negatively correlated (p=0.0015), at least among those subjects secreting the latter. Circulating basophil IL-13 responses further correlated with post-segmental allergen challenge bronchoalveolar lavage parameters including IL-13 protein (p=0.04), basophil (p=0.051), eosinophil (p=0.0018) and total cell counts (p<0.003). Basophil and IL-13 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage likewise correlated (p=0.0002).
These results support a mechanism of immune regulation whereby allergen reduces innate immune responses and IFN-α production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells, resulting in enhanced inflammation and basophil cytokine production at sites of allergen exposure.
PMCID: PMC3132795  PMID: 20184608
allergen challenge; basophils; dendritic cells; cytokine; Toll-like receptor; lung; innate immunity; inflammation

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