Allergen-specific immunotherapy is aimed at modifying the natural history of allergy by inducing tolerance to the causative allergen. In its traditional, subcutaneous form, immunotherapy has complete evidence of efficacy in allergic asthma. However, subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) has a major flaw in side effects, and especially in possible anaphylactic reactions, and this prompted the search for safer ways of administration of allergen extracts. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has met such need while maintaining a clinical efficacy comparable to SCIT. In fact, the safety profile, as outlined by a systematic revision of the available literature, was substantially free from serious systemic reactions. A number of meta-analyses clearly showed that SLIT is effective in allergic rhinitis by significantly reducing the clinical symptoms and the use of anti-allergic drugs, while the efficacy in allergic asthma is still debated, with some meta-analyses showing clear effectiveness but other giving contrasting results. Besides the efficacy on symptoms, the preventive activity and the cost-effectiveness are important outcomes of SLIT in asthma. The needs to meet include more data on efficacy in house dust mite asthma, optimal techniques of administration and, as previously done with SCIT, introduction of adjuvants able to enhance the immunologic response and use of recombinant allergens.
Allergic asthma; efficacy; specific immunotherapy; sublingual immunotherapy; safety
Background. Allergic rhinitis is a disease with polarization towards Th2 and a defect of regulatory T cells. Immunological changes have been reported after immunotherapy treatment. However, there is not much known about the natural course of allergic rhinitis with respect to clinical manifestation and the relation with immunological responses. Objective. To evaluate clinical symptoms of allergic rhinitis, in relation to in vivo allergen-specific skin responses and in vitro allergen-specific effector and regulatory T cells determined at baseline and after two years. Methods. From a large trial, 59 children were randomly selected. The following variables were compared: clinical symptoms, allergen skin tests, specific IgE, T-cell proliferation, IL-5, IL-13, IFN-gamma, IL-10, TGF-beta, CD4+CD25hi cells, and Foxp3 expression. Results. Allergic symptoms had decreased after two years. Whereas skin test reactions correlated between years 0 and 2, there was no change in the size of the reaction. Also, proinflammatory reactions did not change after two years, with a positive correlation between years 0 and 2. No relevant changes were observed with respect to regulatory cells.
Conclusion. Whereas, comparable to immunotherapy, allergic complaints decrease, the immunological changes of specific T-cell activity (both effector cells and regulator cells) which are observed after immunotherapy, do not change.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has been considered to be a painless and efficacious therapeutic treatment of allergic rhinitis which is known as type I allergy of nasal mucosa. Nevertheless, its mechanisms need to be further investigated.
In this study, we constructed an effective murine model of sublingual immunotherapy in allergic rhinitis, in which mice were sublingually administered with ovalbumin (OVA) followed by intraperitoneal sensitization and nasal challenge of OVA. Sublingually treated mice showed significantly decreased specific IgE responses as well as suppressed Th2 immune responses. Sublingual administration of OVA did not alter the frequency of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), but led to upregulation of Foxp3- and IL-10-specific mRNAs in the Tregs of cervical lymph nodes (CLN), which strongly suppressed Th2 cytokine production from CD4+CD25− effector T cells in vitro. Furthermore, sublingual administration of plasmids encoding the lymphoid chemokines CCL19 and CCL21-Ser DNA together with OVA suppressed allergic responses. These results suggest that IL-10-expressing CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs in CLN are involved in the suppression of allergic responses and that CCL19/CCL21 may contribute to it in mice that received SLIT.
Aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of sublingual-oral immunotherapy in allergic rhinitis induced by various allergens and to demonstrate its effects using objective methods such as skin prick tests and specific IgE analysis. The first 100 patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis and treated with sublingual-oral immunotherapy took part in the study and were followed for 2 years. Baseline findings were statistically compared with data obtained at the end of the study period. All symptoms including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching, as well as all clinical findings, including lower turbinate colour, turbinate congestion, and nasal discharge, observed by the physician, were significantly decreased after sublingual-oral treatment for two years (p < 0.001). A significant reduction in skin test reactivity was found when the initial and the final tests were compared. The difference between before and after treatment levels of specific IgE levels for D. pteronyssinus, D. farinea, and grasses were significant (p < 0.001), but were not significant for cereals (p = 679 ns). As far as concerns the correlation between the recovery of clinical findings and age, as well as the correlation between the recovery of clinical findings and sex, neither of these were statistically significant (age: r = -0.076, p = 0.453, sex: r = -0.004, p = 0.97). The efficacy of the treatment, determined by means of symptom evaluations, was higher than expected in our study. A certain effect of this recovery might be due to the placebo effect, but it is supported by the improvement in skin tests and specific IgE levels.
Nose; Allergic rhinitis; Oral immunotherapy; Skin test; Specific IgE
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), also known as handheld computers, are being increasingly adopted by physicians, many of whom find the PDA to be an indispensable part of their medical practice. With limited time and expense, an interested physician can choose and purchase a PDA, connect it to a computer, and fill it with useful medical software, much of which is available at little or no cost on the Internet. At its most basic, the PDA allows for the access of medical reference material at the point of care. Physicians interested in going to the next level can use the PDA for electronic prescribing, charge capture, or to customize documents or databases to meet the specific needs of their practice.
Grass pollen allergens are a major cause of allergic respiratory disease but traditionally prescribing practice for grass pollen allergen-specific immunotherapy has favoured pollen extracts of temperate grasses. Here we aim to compare allergy to subtropical and temperate grass pollens in patients with allergic rhinitis from a subtropical region of Australia.
Sensitization to pollen extracts of the subtropical Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) and Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) as well as the temperate Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) were measured by skin prick in 233 subjects from Brisbane. Grass pollen-specific IgE reactivity was tested by ELISA and cross-inhibition ELISA.
Patients with grass pollen allergy from a subtropical region showed higher skin prick diameters with subtropical Bahia grass and Bermuda grass pollens than with Johnson grass and Ryegrass pollens. IgE reactivity was higher with pollen of Bahia grass than Bermuda grass, Johnson grass and Ryegrass. Patients showed asymmetric cross-inhibition of IgE reactivity with subtropical grass pollens that was not blocked by temperate grass pollen allergens indicating the presence of species-specific IgE binding sites of subtropical grass pollen allergens that are not represented in temperate grass pollens.
Subtropical grass pollens are more important allergen sources than temperate grass pollens for patients from a subtropical region. Targeting allergen-specific immunotherapy to subtropical grass pollen allergens in patients with allergic rhinitis in subtropical regions could improve treatment efficacy thereby reducing the burden of allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Grass pollen; Allergic rhinitis; IgE; Bahia grass pollen; Bermuda grass pollen; Ryegrass pollen
Immunotherapy is the only treatment for allergy that has the potential to alter the natural course of the disease. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for grass pollen-induced rhino-conjunctivitis has been developed to make immunotherapy available to a broader group of allergic patients. In the largest clinical programme ever conducted with allergen-specific immunotherapy, over 1,700 adults and 260 children have been exposed to Grazax®. Grazax is formulated as an oral lyophilisate (tablet) for sublingual administration, containing 75,000 SQ-T standardized allergen extract of grass pollen from Phleum pratense. Grazax is indicated for treatment of grass pollen-induced rhinitis and conjunctivitis in adult patients with clinically relevant symptoms and diagnosed with a positive skin prick test and/or specific IgE test to grass pollen. In phase I trials doses from 2,500 to 1,000,000 SQ-T were tested. All doses were well tolerated and 75,000 SQ-T, with approximately 15 μg major allergen protein, was chosen as the optimal dose. Three phase III trials are ongoing, one being a long-term trial. Results from GT-08 trial first and second treatment years showed a reduction of 30% and 36%, respectively, in daily rhino-conjunctivitis symptom scores and a reduction of 38% and 46% of daily rhino-conjunctivitis medication scores compared with placebo over the entire grass pollen season. Subjects treated with Grazax also had an increased number of well days and improved quality of life, and more subjects experienced excellent rhino-conjunctivitis control. The most common adverse events related to Grazax are local reactions, such as pruritus, edema mouth, ear pruritus, throat irritation, and sneezing. We conclude that Grazax is efficacious and safe for treatment of rhino-conjunctivitis due to grass pollen allergy.
sublingual immonotherapy; grass pollen allergy; rhinoconjunctivitis; immunotherapy; tablet
In this review we focus on sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), toll like receptor-9 (TLR-9) vaccines, and anti-IL-5 as novel immunomodulating therapies in allergy. SLIT provides a novel oral route of administering an allergen to induce tolerance to inhaled allergens. Studies of SLIT in allergic rhinitis demonstrate that it reduces symptoms and medication use and is associated with a low incidence of systemic allergic reactions. Initial phase II studies with TLR-9 vaccines conjugated to a ragweed allergen demonstrate that they reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis during the ragweed season. Anti-IL-5 is effective as a corticosteroid sparing agent in the hypereosinophilic syndrome. In contrast, anti-IL-5 has not shown benefit in moderate asthmatics with persistent symptoms, but may reduce features of airway remodeling in asthma. At present all these immunomodulating approaches (SLIT, TLR-9 vaccines, and anti-IL-5) are investigational in the USA and require further study to determine their safety and effectiveness.
sublingual immunotherapy; subcutaneous immunotherapy; anti-IL-5; TLR-9; tolerance
Allergen specific immunotherapy involves the repeated administration of allergen products in order to induce clinical and immunologic tolerance to the offending allergen. Immunotherapy is the only etiology-based treatment that has the potential for disease modification, as reflected by longterm remission following its discontinuation and possibly prevention of disease progression and onset of new allergic sensitizations. Whereas subcutaneous immunotherapy is of proven value in allergic rhinitis and asthma there is a risk of untoward side effects including rarely anaphylaxis. Recently the sublingual route has emerged as an effective and safer alternative. Whereas the efficacy of SLIT in seasonal allergy is now well-documented in adults and children, the available data for perennial allergies and asthma is less reliable and particularly lacking in children. This review evaluates the efficacy, safety and longterm benefits of SCIT and SLIT and highlights new findings regarding mechanisms, potential biomarkers and recent novel approaches for allergen immunotherapy.
adjuvant; allergen vaccine; immunopotentiator; sublingual immunotherapy; vector system
Allergic rhinitis is a very common disease affecting about 20% of people. It may be treated by allergen avoidance when possible, by antiallergic drugs such as antihistamines and topical corticosteroids, and by allergen-specific immunotherapy. The latter is the only treatment able to act on the causes and not only on the symptoms of respiratory allergy and is able to maintain its efficacy even after stopping, provided an adequate duration of treatment of 3–5 years is ensured. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) was introduced in the 1990s as a possible solution to the problem of adverse systemic reactions to subcutaneous immunotherapy and has been demonstrated by more than 50 trials and globally evaluated thus far by five meta-analyses as an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis. Life-threatening reactions are extremely rare. However, it is important to note that clinical efficacy occurs only if SLIT meets its needs, ie, sufficiently high doses are regularly administered for at least 3 consecutive years. This is often overlooked in the current practice and may prevent the same success reported by trials from being achieved.
allergic rhinitis; sublingual immunotherapy; efficacy; safety; compliance; meta-analysis
For respiratory allergic disorders in children, sublingual immunotherapy has been developed as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy. Sublingual immunotherapy is more convenient, has a good safety profile and might be an attractive option for use in primary care. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study was designed to establish the efficacy of sublingual immunotherapy with house dust mite allergen compared to placebo treatment in 6 to18-year-old children with allergic rhinitis and a proven house dust mite allergy in primary care. Described here are the methodology, recruitment phases, and main characteristics of the recruited children.
Recruitment took place in September to December of 2005 and 2006. General practitioners (in south-west Netherlands) selected children who had ever been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Children and parents could respond to a postal invitation. Children who responded positively were screened by telephone using a nasal symptom score. After this screening, an inclusion visit took place during which a blood sample was taken for the RAST test.
A total of 226 general practitioners invited almost 6000 children: of these, 51% was male and 40% <12 years of age. The target sample size was 256 children; 251 patients were finally included. The most frequent reasons given for not participating were: absence or mildness of symptoms, absence of house dust mite allergy, and being allergic to grass pollen or tree pollen only. Asthma symptoms were reported by 37% of the children. Of the enrolled children, 71% was sensitized to both house dust mite and grass pollen. Roughly similar proportions of children were diagnosed as being sensitized to one, two, three or four common inhalant allergens.
Our study was designed in accordance with recent recommendations for research on establishing the efficacy of sublingual immunotherapy; 98% of the target sample size was achieved. This study is expected to provide useful information on sublingual immunotherapy with house dust mite allergen in primary care. The results on efficacy and safety are expected to be available by 2010.
the trial is registered as ISRCTN91141483 (Dutch Trial Register)
A number of biological agents are available or being investigated for the treatment of asthma and rhinitis. The safety profiles of these biologic agents, which may modify allergic and immunological diseases, are still being elucidated. Subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy, the oldest biologic agent in current use, has the highest of frequency of the most serious and life-threatening reaction, anaphylaxis. It is also one of the only disease modifying interventions for allergic rhinitis and asthma. Efforts to seek safer and more effective allergen immunotherapy treatment have led to investigations of alternate routes of delivery and modified immunotherapy formulations. Sublingual immunotherapy appears to be associated with a lower, but not zero, risk of anaphylaxis. No fatalities have been reported to date with sublingual immunotherapy. Immunotherapy with modified formulations containing Th1 adjuvants, DNA sequences containing a CpG motif (CpG) and 3-deacylated monophospholipid A, appears to provide the benefits of subcutaneous immunotherapy with a single course of 4 to 6 preseasonal injections. There were no serious treatment-related adverse events or anaphylaxis in the clinical trials of these two immunotherapy adjuvants. Omalizumab, a monoclonal antibody against IgE, has been associated with a small risk of anaphylaxis, affecting 0.09% to 0.2% of patients. It may also be associated with a higher risk of geohelminth infection in patients at high risk for parasitic infections but it does not appear to affect the response to treatment or severity of the infection.
Clinical trials with other biologic agents that have targeted IL-4/IL-13, or IL-5, have not demonstrated any definite serious treatment-related adverse events. However, these clinical trials were generally done in small populations of asthma patients, which may be too small for uncommon side effects to be identified. There is conflicting information about the safety TNF-alpha blocking agents, which have been primarily used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, with serious infections, cardiovascular disease and malignancies being the most frequent serious adverse events. An unfavorable risk-benefit profile led to early discontinuation of a TNF-blocking agent in a double-blind placebo controlled of severe asthmatics.
In summary, the risk of anaphylaxis and other treatment-related serious events with of all of the biological agents in this review were relatively small. However, most of the clinical trials were done in relatively small patient populations and were of relatively short duration. Long term studies in large patient populations may help clarify the risk-benefit profile of these biologic agents in the treatment of asthma.
Asthma and rhinitis are often co-morbid conditions. As rhinitis often precedes asthma it is possible that effective treatment of allergic rhinitis may reduce asthma progression.
The aim of our study is to investigate history of allergic rhinitis as a risk factor for asthma and the potential effect of allergen immunotherapy in attenuating the incidence of asthma.
Hospital-referred non-asthmatic adults, aged 18–40 years between 1990 and 1991, were retrospectively followed up until January and April 2000. At the end of follow up, available subjects were clinically examined for asthma diagnosis and history of allergen specific immunotherapy, second-hand smoking and the presence of pets in the household. A total of 436 non-asthmatic adults (332 subjects with allergic rhinitis and 104 with no allergic rhinitis nor history of atopy) were available for final analyses.
The highest OR (odds ratio) associated with a diagnosis of asthma at the end of follow-up was for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis at baseline (OR, 7.8; 95%CI, 3.1–20.0 in the model containing the covariates of rhinitis diagnosis, sex, second-hand smoke exposure, presence of pets at home, family history of allergic disorders, sensitization to Parietaria judaica; grass pollen; house dust mites; Olea europea: orchard; perennial rye; and cat allergens). Female sex, sensitization to Parietaria judaica and the presence of pets in the home were also significantly predictive of new onset asthma in the same model. Treatment with allergen immunotherapy was significantly and inversely related to the development of new onset asthma (OR, 0.53; 95%CI, 0.32–0.86).
In the present study we found that allergic rhinitis is an important independent risk factor for asthma. Moreover, treatment with allergen immunotherapy lowers the risk of the development of new asthma cases in adults with allergic rhinitis.
Current treatment options for allergic rhinitis (AR) include allergen avoidance and environmental control, pharmacotherapy, nasal surgery and immunotherapy. Among these, immunotherapy is the only therapeutic option that modifies fundamental immunologic mechanism by inducing desensitization. Specific allergen immunotherapy has been used for 1 century since 1911 and subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) has been demonstrated to be effective in asthma and AR. However, SCIT has several disadvantages such as inconvenience, invasiveness and potentially severe systemic reactions. Thus, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has recently received much attention around the world as a treatment for AR and is now widely used to replace the subcutaneous route. SLIT has recently been introduced in Korea and is now available for AR treatment in the Asia-Pacific region. This review offers better understanding of SLIT for AR by summarizing published articles and our previous works regarding proposed mechanisms, indication and efficacy, safety and adverse events, and compliance.
Immunotherapy; Sublingual administration; Rhinitis
Allergen specific CD4+ T cell clones generated from allergic individuals have been shown to produce increased levels of the cytokine interleukin 4 (IL-4), compared to allergen specific clones generated from nonallergic individuals. This difference between CD4+ T cells from allergic and nonallergic individuals with regard to cytokine production in response to allergen is thought to be responsible for the development of allergic disease with increased IgE synthesis in atopic individuals. We examined the production of IL-4 in subjects with allergic rhinitis and in allergic individuals treated with allergen immunotherapy, a treatment which involves the subcutaneous administration of increasing doses of allergen and which is highly effective and beneficial for individuals with severe allergic rhinitis. We demonstrated that the quantity of IL-4 produced by allergen specific memory CD4+ T cells from allergic individuals could be considerably reduced by in vivo treatment with allergen (allergen immunotherapy). Immunotherapy reduced IL-4 production by allergen specific CD4+ T cells to levels observed with T cells from nonallergic subjects, or to levels induced with nonallergic antigens such as tetanus toxoid. In most cases the levels of IL-4 produced were inversely related to the length of time on immunotherapy. These observations indicate that immunotherapy accomplishes its clinical effects by reducing IL-4 synthesis in allergen specific CD4+ T cells. In addition, these observations indicate that the cytokine profiles of memory CD4+ T cells can indeed be altered by in vivo therapies. Thus, the cytokine profiles of memory CD4+ T cells are mutable, and are not fixed as had been suggested by studies of murine CD4+ memory T cells. Finally, treatment of allergic diseases with allergen immunotherapy may be a model for other diseases which may require therapies that alter inappropriate cytokine profiles of memory CD4+ T cells.
Among birch pollen allergic patients up to 70% develop allergic reactions to Bet v 1-homologue food allergens such as Api g 1 (celery) or Dau c 1 (carrot), termed as birch pollen-related food allergy. In most cases, specific immunotherapy with birch pollen extracts does not reduce allergic symptoms to the homologue food allergens. We therefore genetically engineered a multi-allergen chimer and tested if mucosal treatment with this construct could represent a novel approach for prevention of birch pollen-related food allergy.
BALB/c mice were poly-sensitized with a mixture of Bet v 1, Api g 1 and Dau c 1 followed by a sublingual challenge with carrot, celery and birch pollen extracts. For prevention of allergy sensitization an allergen chimer composed of immunodominant T cell epitopes of Api g 1 and Dau c 1 linked to the whole Bet v 1 allergen, was intranasally applied prior to sensitization.
Intranasal pretreatment with the allergen chimer led to significantly decreased antigen-specific IgE-dependent β-hexosaminidase release, but enhanced allergen-specific IgG2a and IgA antibodies. Accordingly, IL-4 levels in spleen cell cultures and IL-5 levels in restimulated spleen and cervical lymph node cell cultures were markedly reduced, while IFN-γ levels were increased. Immunomodulation was associated with increased IL-10, TGF-β and Foxp3 mRNA levels in NALT and Foxp3 in oral mucosal tissues. Treatment with anti-TGF-β, anti-IL10R or anti-CD25 antibodies abrogated the suppression of allergic responses induced by the chimer.
Our results indicate that mucosal application of the allergen chimer led to decreased Th2 immune responses against Bet v 1 and its homologue food allergens Api g 1 and Dau c 1 by regulatory and Th1-biased immune responses. These data suggest that mucosal treatment with a multi-allergen vaccine could be a promising treatment strategy to prevent birch pollen-related food allergy.
Cross-linking of allergen specific IgE bound to the high affinity IgE receptor (FC epsilonRI) on the surface of mast cells with multivalent allergens results in the release of both pre-formed and newly generated mediators, and in the manifestation of allergic symptoms. The expression of Fc epsilonRI, and the synthesis of IgE are therefore critical for the development of allergic diseases. In this study, we report that nasal mast cells (NMC) from patients with perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) expressed significantly greater levels of the Fc epsilonRI, CD40L, IL-4, and IL-13 as compared to NMC from patients with chronic infective rhinitis (CIR). The level of Fc epsilonRI expression in NMC of PAR patients strongly correlated with the levels of serum total (r = 0.8, P < 0.003) and specific IgE (r = 0.89, P < 0.0004) antibodies. In addition, stimulation of NMC with IL-4, upregulated the Fc epsilonRIalpha chain expression both at the protein and mRNA levels, as detected by flow cytometry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, NMC from PAR, but not CIR, patients induced IgE synthesis by purified B cells in the presence of Der fII (mite antigen). These results suggest novel and critical roles for mast cells in promoting the allergic reaction through the increased expression of Fc epsilonRI and by enhancing and amplifying the IgE production, within the local microenvironment.
Allergen specific immunotherapy (ASI) is a well-documented treatment for allergic asthma, rhinitis and allergy to bee venoms. Immunotherapy with subcutaneous injections of allergens extracts has proved beneficial in reducing symptoms of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Side effects due to specific immunotherapy in short term have been largely documented. These effects were various but were usually mild. Fatal reactions are less frequent. We reported a case of a woman, with a history of allergic asthma under specific desensitization protocol who developed an acute multi-organ failure (MOF) consecutive to administration of ASI (Alustal® Stallergenes SA, France). This fatal reaction has never been described as adverse event of specific immunotherapy. We aimed to describe this dramatic reaction, expose the arguments to define the relationship between the administration of allergen extract and the occurrence of this fatal reaction.
Allergen specific immunotherapy; multi-organ failure; Allergy; drug reaction; desensitization
Allergic diseases represent a complex innate and adoptive immune response to natural environmental allergens with Th2-type T cells and allergen-specific IgE predominance. Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the most effective therapeutic approach for disregulated immune response towards allergens by enhancing immune tolerance mechanisms. The main aim of immunotherapy is the generation of allergen nonresponsive or tolerant T cells in sensitized patients and downregulation of predominant T cell- and IgE-mediated immune responses. During allergen-specific immunotherapy, T regulatory cells are generated, which secrete IL-10 and induce allergen-specific B cells for the production of IgG4 antibodies. These mechanisms induce tolerance to antigens that reduces allergic symptoms. Although current knowledge highlights the role of T regulatory cell-mediated immunetolerance, definite mechanisms that lead to a successful clinical outcomes of allergen-specific immunotherapy still remains an open area of research.
Allergy; T regulatory cells; allergen-specific immunotheraphy; dendiritic cells
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) is the cornerstone of the management of allergic diseases, which targets modification of the immunologic response, along with environmental allergen avoidance and pharmacotherapy. SIT is associated with improved tolerance to allergen challenge, with a decrease in immediate-phase and late-phase allergic inflammation. SIT has the potential to prevent development of new sensitizations and progression of allergic rhinitis to asthma. It has a role in cellular and humoral responses in a modified pattern. The ratio of T helper (Th)1 cytokines to Th2 cytokines is increased following SIT, and functional regulatory T cells are induced. Interleukin-10 production by monocytes, macrophages, and B and T cells is increased, as well as expression of transforming growth factor β. SIT is associated with increases in allergen-specific antibodies in IgA, IgG1, and IgG4 isotypes. These blocking-type immunoglobulins, particularly IgG4, may compete with IgE binding to allergen, decreasing the allergen presentation with the high- and low-affinity receptors for IgE (FcεRI and FcεRII, respectively). Additionally, SIT reduces the number of mast cells and eosinophils in the target tissues and release of mediators from these cells.
dendritic cells; mucosal tolerance; regulatory T cells; allergen-specific immunotherapy
Therapy for allergic rhinitis aims to control symptoms and improve the quality of life. The treatment of allergic rhinitis includes allergen avoidance, environmental controls, pharmacologic treatment, and specific immunotherapy.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical changes and the levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-5 (IL-5) in nasal lavage fluid from children with allergic rhinitis after different types of pharmacologic treatment (mometasone, montelukast, or desloratadine).
Twenty-four children aged from six to 12 years with moderate persistent allergic rhinitis were randomized into three groups receiving monotherapy treatment over four weeks: nasal corticosteroid (mometasone), leukotriene modifier (montelukast), or antihistamine (desloratadine). The perception of symptom improvement during the medication use was evaluated at the end of the treatment. Samples of nasal lavage fluid were collected before and after treatment for measuring IFN-γ and IL-5 cytokines by ELISA.
All parents perceived an improvement in symptoms. Significant enhancement was seen in the mometasone group compared to those with montelukast (P = 0.01) and desloratadine (P = 0.02). No significant differences were found among the three groups in the levels of IL-5 and IFN-γ in nasal fluid at baseline or after treatment. Only the group treated with mometasone showed a slight but significant reduction in IL-5 levels after the treatment period as compared with levels before the treatment (P = 0.0469).
The group treated with mometasone showed better improvement of clinical symptoms and a slight reduction in IL-5 levels in the nasal fluid. This may indirectly reflect the relative immunomodulatory effects of the drugs tested.
allergic rhinitis; cytokines; IL-5; IFN-γ; nasal fluid; desloratadine; mometasone; montelukast; allergy
Since its description by Noon in 1911, desensitization, or allergen specific immunotherapy (SIT), has been largely used in respiratory allergic diseases treatment. It remains the only etiologic treatment for allergic diseases. The development of the sublingual route and new forms of medication, as an alternative to subcutaneous injection, has led to large scale clinical trials. Many of them had been performed with allergen tablets, particularly in the field of pollen allergy. These studies have confirmed that SIT is efficient in reducing all respiratory allergic symptoms. Data on long-term benefits and sustained efficacy after stopping treatment have also been published. These show an impact on natural history of allergic disease, in particular, a reduction in the risk of asthma in desensitized rhinitic subjects and in the acquisition of new sensitivities. The basic mechanisms of immunotherapy are becoming better understood and allow us to envisage improvements in this therapeutic method in the future. The sublingual route appears to be safer with a better safety profile. This may lead to an extension of allergen specific immunotherapy indications in patients with respiratory allergic diseases.
pollen allergy; rhinoconjunctivitis; specific immunotherapy; sublingual immunotherapy; allergen tablets
This study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy and mucosal/systemic antibody response changes after sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) using Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) allergens with or without bacterial extracts in mite-allergic Brazilian children.
One-hundred and 2 patients presenting allergic rhinitis with or without asthma were selected for a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial and distributed into 3 groups: DPT (Dpt allergen extract, n = 34), DPT + MRB (Dpt allergen plus mixed respiratory bacterial extracts, n = 36), and Placebo (n = 32). Clinical evaluation and immunological analyses were carried out before and after 12 and 18 months of treatment, including rhinitis/asthma symptom and medication scores, skin prick test (SPT) to Dpt extract, and measurements of Dpt-, Der p 1-, Der p 2-specific IgE, IgG4, and IgG1 in serum and -specific IgA in saliva and nasal lavage fluid.
Clinical results showed a significant decline in rhinitis/asthma symptom scores in all groups, but medication use decreased only in active DPT group at 12 months. SPT results showed no significant changes and SLIT was generally safe, with no severe systemic reactions. SLIT using Dpt allergen alone induced increased serum IgG4 levels to Dpt, Der p 1 and Der p 2, and increased serum IgG1 and salivary IgA levels to Dpt and Der p 1. SLIT using DPT+MRB was able to decrease IgE levels, particularly to Der p 2, to increase salivary IgA levels to Der p 1, but had no changes on specific IgG4 and IgG1 levels.
Therefore, SLIT seems to be effective in ameliorating clinical symptoms, but only active SLIT was able to modulate the mucosal and systemic antibody responses. These findings support the role of specific serum IgG4 and IgG1, in addition to salivary IgA, as protective or blocking antibodies as well as biomarkers of tolerance that may be useful for monitoring activation of tolerance-inducing mechanisms during allergen immunotherapy.
Allergic asthma is a disease characterized by persistent allergen-driven airway inflammation, remodeling, and airway hyperresponsiveness. CD4+ T-cells, especially T-helper type 2 cells, play a critical role in orchestrating the disease process through the release of the cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) is currently the only treatment with a long-term effect via modifying the natural course of allergy by interfering with the underlying immunological mechanisms. However, although SIT is effective in allergic rhinitis and insect venom allergy, in allergic asthma it seldom results in complete alleviation of the symptoms. Improvement of SIT is needed to enhance its efficacy in asthmatic patients. Herein, the immunoregulatory mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of SIT are discussed with the ultimate aim to improve its treatment efficacy.
allergic asthma; immunotherapy; dendritic cell; regulatory T cells; Th2 lymphocytes; hyperresponsiveness; eosinophilia; IgE; IL-10
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is currently performed via either the subcutaneous or sublingual routes as a treatment for type I (IgE dependent) allergies. Aluminum hydroxide or calcium phosphate are broadly used as adjuvants for subcutaneous allergy vaccines, whereas commercial sublingual vaccines rely upon high doses of aqueous allergen extracts in the absence of any immunopotentiator. Adjuvants to be included in the future in products for allergen specific immunotherapy should ideally enhance Th1 and CD4+ regulatory T cell responses. Imunomodulators impacting dendritic or T cell functions to induce IL10, IL12 and IFNγ production are being investigated in preclinical allergy models. Such candidate adjuvants encompass synthetic or biological immunopotentiators such as glucocorticoids, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3, selected probiotic strains (e.g., Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species) as well as TLR2 (Pam3CSK4), TLR4 (monophosphoryl lipid A, synthetic lipid A analogs) or TLR9 (CpGs) ligands. Furthermore, the use of vector systems such as mucoadhesive particules, virus-like particles or liposomes are being considered to enhance allergen uptake by tolerogenic antigen presenting cells present in mucosal tissues.
adjuvant; allergen vaccine; immunopotentiator; sublingual immunotherapy; vector system