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10.  Research needs in allergy: an EAACI position paper, in collaboration with EFA 
Papadopoulos, Nikolaos G | Agache, Ioana | Bavbek, Sevim | Bilo, Beatrice M | Braido, Fulvio | Cardona, Victoria | Custovic, Adnan | deMonchy, Jan | Demoly, Pascal | Eigenmann, Philippe | Gayraud, Jacques | Grattan, Clive | Heffler, Enrico | Hellings, Peter W | Jutel, Marek | Knol, Edward | Lötvall, Jan | Muraro, Antonella | Poulsen, Lars K | Roberts, Graham | Schmid-Grendelmeier, Peter | Skevaki, Chrysanthi | Triggiani, Massimo | vanRee, Ronald | Werfel, Thomas | Flood, Breda | Palkonen, Susanna | Savli, Roberta | Allegri, Pia | Annesi-Maesano, Isabella | Annunziato, Francesco | Antolin-Amerigo, Dario | Apfelbacher, Christian | Blanca, Miguel | Bogacka, Ewa | Bonadonna, Patrizia | Bonini, Matteo | Boyman, Onur | Brockow, Knut | Burney, Peter | Buters, Jeroen | Butiene, Indre | Calderon, Moises | Cardell, Lars Olaf | Caubet, Jean-Christoph | Celenk, Sevcan | Cichocka-Jarosz, Ewa | Cingi, Cemal | Couto, Mariana | deJong, Nicolette | Del Giacco, Stefano | Douladiris, Nikolaos | Fassio, Filippo | Fauquert, Jean-Luc | Fernandez, Javier | Rivas, Montserrat Fernandez | Ferrer, Marta | Flohr, Carsten | Gardner, James | Genuneit, Jon | Gevaert, Philippe | Groblewska, Anna | Hamelmann, Eckard | Hoffmann, Hans Jürgen | Hoffmann-Sommergruber, Karin | Hovhannisyan, Lilit | Hox, Valérie | Jahnsen, Frode L | Kalayci, Ömer | Kalpaklioglu, Ayse Füsun | Kleine-Tebbe, Jörg | Konstantinou, George | Kurowski, Marcin | Lau, Susanne | Lauener, Roger | Lauerma, Antti | Logan, Kirsty | Magnan, Antoine | Makowska, Joanna | Makrinioti, Heidi | Mangina, Paraskevi | Manole, Felicia | Mari, Adriano | Mazon, Angel | Mills, Clare | Mingomataj, ErvinÇ | Niggemann, Bodo | Nilsson, Gunnar | Ollert, Markus | O'Mahony, Liam | O'Neil, Serena | Pala, Gianni | Papi, Alberto | Passalacqua, Gianni | Perkin, Michael | Pfaar, Oliver | Pitsios, Constantinos | Quirce, Santiago | Raap, Ulrike | Raulf-Heimsoth, Monika | Rhyner, Claudio | Robson-Ansley, Paula | Alves, Rodrigo Rodrigues | Roje, Zeljka | Rondon, Carmen | Rudzeviciene, Odilija | Ruëff, Franziska | Rukhadze, Maia | Rumi, Gabriele | Sackesen, Cansin | Santos, Alexandra F | Santucci, Annalisa | Scharf, Christian | Schmidt-Weber, Carsten | Schnyder, Benno | Schwarze, Jürgen | Senna, Gianenrico | Sergejeva, Svetlana | Seys, Sven | Siracusa, Andrea | Skypala, Isabel | Sokolowska, Milena | Spertini, Francois | Spiewak, Radoslaw | Sprikkelman, Aline | Sturm, Gunter | Swoboda, Ines | Terreehorst, Ingrid | Toskala, Elina | Traidl-Hoffmann, Claudia | Venter, Carina | Vlieg-Boerstra, Berber | Whitacker, Paul | Worm, Margitta | Xepapadaki, Paraskevi | Akdis, Cezmi A
In less than half a century, allergy, originally perceived as a rare disease, has become a major public health threat, today affecting the lives of more than 60 million people in Europe, and probably close to one billion worldwide, thereby heavily impacting the budgets of public health systems. More disturbingly, its prevalence and impact are on the rise, a development that has been associated with environmental and lifestyle changes accompanying the continuous process of urbanization and globalization. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prioritize and concert research efforts in the field of allergy, in order to achieve sustainable results on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this most prevalent chronic disease of the 21st century.
The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is the leading professional organization in the field of allergy, promoting excellence in clinical care, education, training and basic and translational research, all with the ultimate goal of improving the health of allergic patients. The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) is a non-profit network of allergy, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) patients’ organizations. In support of their missions, the present EAACI Position Paper, in collaboration with EFA, highlights the most important research needs in the field of allergy to serve as key recommendations for future research funding at the national and European levels.
Although allergies may involve almost every organ of the body and an array of diverse external factors act as triggers, there are several common themes that need to be prioritized in research efforts. As in many other chronic diseases, effective prevention, curative treatment and accurate, rapid diagnosis represent major unmet needs. Detailed phenotyping/endotyping stands out as widely required in order to arrange or re-categorize clinical syndromes into more coherent, uniform and treatment-responsive groups. Research efforts to unveil the basic pathophysiologic pathways and mechanisms, thus leading to the comprehension and resolution of the pathophysiologic complexity of allergies will allow for the design of novel patient-oriented diagnostic and treatment protocols. Several allergic diseases require well-controlled epidemiological description and surveillance, using disease registries, pharmacoeconomic evaluation, as well as large biobanks. Additionally, there is a need for extensive studies to bring promising new biotechnological innovations, such as biological agents, vaccines of modified allergen molecules and engineered components for allergy diagnosis, closer to clinical practice. Finally, particular attention should be paid to the difficult-to-manage, precarious and costly severe disease forms and/or exacerbations. Nonetheless, currently arising treatments, mainly in the fields of immunotherapy and biologicals, hold great promise for targeted and causal management of allergic conditions. Active involvement of all stakeholders, including Patient Organizations and policy makers are necessary to achieve the aims emphasized herein.
PMCID: PMC3539924  PMID: 23121771
Allergy; Allergic diseases; Policy; Research needs; Research funding; Europe
11.  The Genomic Signature of Human Rhinoviruses A, B and C 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44557.
Human rhinoviruses are single stranded positive sense RNA viruses that are presented in more than 50% of acute upper respiratory tract infections. Despite extensive studies on the genetic diversity of the virus, little is known about the forces driving it. In order to explain this diversity, many research groups have focused on protein sequence requirements for viable, functional and transmissible virus but have missed out an important aspect of viral evolution such as the genomic ontology of the virus. This study presents for the first time the genomic signature of 111 fully sequenced HRV strains from all three groups HRV-A, HRV-B and HRV-C. We observed an HRV genome tendency to eliminate CpG and UpA dinucleotides, coupling with over-representation of UpG and CpA. We propose a specific mechanism which describes how rapid changes in the HRV genomic sequence can take place under the strict control of conservation of the polypeptide backbone. Moreover, the distribution of the observed under- and over-represented dinucleotides along the HRV genome is presented. Distance matrice tables based on CpG and UpA odds ratios were constructed and viewed as heatmaps and distance trees. None of the suppressions can be attributed to codon usage or in RNA secondary structure requirements. Since viral recognition is dependent on RNA motifs rich in CpG and UpA, it is possible that the overall described genome evolution mechanism acts in order to protect the virus from host recognition.
PMCID: PMC3441561  PMID: 23028561
12.  Rhinovirus-induced basic fibroblast growth factor release mediates airway remodeling features 
Human rhinoviruses, major precipitants of asthma exacerbations, induce lower airway inflammation and mediate angiogenesis. The purpose of this study was to assess the possibility that rhinoviruses may also contribute to the fibrotic component of airway remodeling.
Levels of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) mRNA and protein were measured following rhinovirus infection of bronchial epithelial cells. The profibrotic effect of epithelial products was assessed by DNA synthesis and matrix metalloproteinase activity assays. Moreover, epithelial cells were exposed to supernatants from cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells, obtained from healthy donors or atopic asthmatic subjects and subsequently infected by rhinovirus and bFGF release was estimated. bFGF was also measured in respiratory secretions from atopic asthmatic patients before and during rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbations.
Rhinovirus epithelial infection stimulated mRNA expression and release of bFGF, the latter being positively correlated with cell death under conditions promoting rhinovirus-induced cytotoxicity. Supernatants from infected cultures induced lung fibroblast proliferation, which was inhibited by anti-bFGF antibody, and demonstrated increased matrix metalloproteinase activity. Rhinovirus-mediated bFGF release was significantly higher in an in vitro simulation of atopic asthmatic environment and, importantly, during rhinovirus-associated asthma exacerbations.
Rhinovirus infection induces bFGF release by airway epithelium, and stimulates stroma cell proliferation contributing to airway remodeling in asthma. Repeated rhinovirus infections may promote asthma persistence, particularly in the context of atopy; prevention of such infections may influence the natural history of asthma.
PMCID: PMC3492082  PMID: 22908984
Airway remodeling; Asthma; BFGF; Bronchial epithelium; Rhinovirus
13.  Risk of allergic reactions to wine, in milk, egg and fish-allergic patients 
European legislators and wine producers still debate on the requirement for labeling of wines fined with potentially allergenic food proteins (casein, egg white or fish-derived isinglass). We investigated whether wines fined with known concentrations of these proteins have the potential to provoke clinical allergic reactions in relevant patients.
In-house wines were produced for the study, fined with different concentrations of casein (n = 7), egg albumin (n = 1) and isinglass (n = 3). ELISA and PCR kits specific for the respective proteins were used to identify the fining agents. Skin prick tests and basophil activation tests were performed in patients with confirmed IgE-mediated relevant food allergies (n = 24). A wine consumption questionnaire and detailed history on possible reactions to wine was obtained in a multinational cohort of milk, egg or fish allergic patients (n = 53) and patients allergic to irrelevant foods as controls (n = 13).
Fining agents were not detectable in wines with the available laboratory methods. Nevertheless, positive skin prick test reactions and basophil activation to the relevant wines were observed in the majority of patients with allergy to milk, egg or fish, correlating with the concentration of the fining agent. Among patients consuming wine, reported reactions were few and mild and similar with the ones reported from the control group.
Casein, isinglass or egg, remaining in traces in wine after fining, present a very low risk for the respective food allergic consumers. Physician and patient awareness campaigns may be more suitable than generalized labeling to address this issue, as the latter may have negative impact on both non-allergic and allergic consumers.
PMCID: PMC3339366  PMID: 22409883
basophil activation; casein; fining agent; fish allergy; isinglass; milk allergy; questionnaire; skin prick test; wine
16.  Effect of simulated gastro-duodenal digestion on the allergenic reactivity of beta-lactoglobulin 
Cow's milk (CM) allergy affects about 2% of infants. The allergenicity of dietary proteins, including those from CM, has been related to their digestibility although the generality of the link and its causality remains to be demonstrated. In this study we use an in vitro digestion system, to investigate the digestibility of β-lactoglobulin (blg) during gastrointestinal transit and to assess the impact of this process on blg allergenic reactivity in CM allergic children.
Blg digesta were prepared using an in vitro digestion protocol simulating either gastric digestion alone or followed by duodenal digestion with or without phosphatidylcholine (PC). Biochemical analysis of blg digesta was performed by SDS-PAGE and their concentration was measured by a sandwich ELISA. Assessment of their allergenic reactivity was done in vitro by EAST inhibition, specific basophil activation (basotest) and lymphocyte proliferation (PCNA-flow cytometry) assays using sera and cells from patients allergic to blg and in vivo by skin prick testing (SPT) of these patients.
Blg was only broken down to smaller peptides after gastro-duodenal digestion although a sizeable amount of intact protein still remained. Digestion did not modify the IgE binding capacity of blg except for gastro-duodenal digestion performed in the absence of PC. These results are consistent with the quantity of intact blg remaining in the digesta. Overall both gastric and gastroduodenal digestion enhanced activation of sensitized basophils and proliferation of sensitized lymphocytes by blg. However, there was a tendency towards reduction in mean diameter of SPT following digestion, the PC alone during phase 1 digestion causing a significant increase in mean diameter.
Digestion did not reduce the allergenic reactivity of blg to a clinically insignificant extent, PC inhibiting digestion and thereby protecting blg allergenic reactivity. SPT reactivity was reduced compared to blg immunoreactivity in in vitro tests.
PMCID: PMC3339358  PMID: 22410304
in vitro digestion; cow's milk allergy; β-lactoglobulin; flow cytometry; Basophil activation; skin prick test
17.  Viral Respiratory Infections and Asthma: the Course Ahead 
Inquiries into the relationships between viral respiratory illnesses and the inception and exacerbation of asthma are being facilitated by recent advances in research approaches and technology. In this article, we identify important knowledge gaps and future research questions, and we discuss how new investigational tools, including improved respiratory virus detection techniques, will permit current and future researchers to define these relationships and the host, virus, developmental, and environmental mechanisms that regulate them. A better understanding of these processes should facilitate the development of improved strategies for the prevention and treatment of virus-induced wheezing illnesses and asthma exacerbations and, possibly, the ultimate goal of discovering effective approaches for the primary prevention of asthma.
PMCID: PMC2880817  PMID: 20513518
viral respiratory infections; asthma; wheezing; asthma onset; asthma exacerbations; respiratory viruses; rhinovirus; respiratory syncytial virus; allergy
18.  Dendritic Cells in Uninfected Infants Born to Hepatitis B Virus-Positive Mothers ▿  
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a central role in antiviral immunity, detecting viruses via Toll-like receptors (TLR) and producing in response vast amounts of type I interferons (IFNs). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes chronic infection after vertical transmission. This study investigated whether an HBV-infected maternal environment might influence DC numbers and pDC function in uninfected infants. Blood was collected from inactive HBsAg carrier and control mothers and their infants at birth and 1 and 6 months of age. HBV DNA was measured in maternal and neonatal perinatal sera using real-time PCR. The circulating frequencies of myeloid DCs (mDCs) and pDCs were determined in the babies by flow cytometry. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and cord blood pDCs were stimulated with resiquimod, and alpha interferon (IFN-α) production and the pDC phenotype were assessed. The effect of the common-cold virus, rhinovirus (RV), on resiquimod stimulation was also determined. HBV DNA was detected in 62.3% of the mothers and 41% of their infants. DC numbers and pDC functions were similar between subjects and controls and were not correlated with maternal or neonatal viremia. RV infection did not induce pDC maturation until the age of 6 months, and it reduced TLR7-dependent resiquimod-induced IFN-α production similarly in both groups. Although the DC system is immature at birth, DCs of uninfected neonates of HBV-positive mothers are competent to initiate and maintain T-cell responses. RV is a weak inducer of IFN-α production until the age of 6 months and inhibits IFN-α responses triggered by the TLR7 pathway.
PMCID: PMC2897267  PMID: 20463102
19.  Asthma control in adolescents: role of leukotriene inhibitors 
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and is a big burden worldwide. It affects both children and adults, but it is insufficiently studied in adolescents, although this age group has important peculiarities and is challenging to treat, due to, but not exclusively because of, lack of adherence to treatment instructions. Evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of asthma targeting specifically adolescents are lacking, due to the fact that most studies are conducted either on children or in adults. Exercise-induced asthma occurs commonly in adolescents, leading to impaired physical activity. This review describes current treatment options for asthma in adolescents, focusing on leukotriene receptor antagonists, both as a monotherapy and as an add-on therapy for optimal asthma control.
PMCID: PMC3915976  PMID: 24600268
asthma control; adolescent; leukotriene antagonists; montelukast; exercise-induced asthma
20.  Atypical Bacteria and Macrolides in Asthma 
Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are common pathogens causing acute illness in both the upper and lower airways. Several observations are supportive of a possible causative role of these pathogens in asthma; however, more evidence is required before this becomes meaningful in clinical practice. Atypical bacteria can enhance airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation, both of which have been associated with exacerbations in patients with preexisting asthma. It is less clear whether the above mechanisms might also be responsible for the development of asthma. Difficulties in accurately diagnosing these infections contribute to such uncertainty. In the present report, evidence of the involvement of Chlamydophila and Mycoplasma infection in the development and the progression of asthma are reviewed.
PMCID: PMC2868865  PMID: 20525132
asthma; Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Mycoplasma pneumoniae
21.  Rhinovirus infection induces cytotoxicity and delays wound healing in bronchial epithelial cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):114.
Human rhinoviruses (RV), the most common triggers of acute asthma exacerbations, are considered not cytotoxic to the bronchial epithelium. Recent observations, however, have questioned this knowledge. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of RV to induce epithelial cytotoxicity and affect epithelial repair in-vitro.
Monolayers of BEAS-2B bronchial epithelial cells, seeded at different densities were exposed to RV serotypes 1b, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16. Cytotoxicity was assessed chromatometrically. Epithelial monolayers were mechanically wounded, exposed or not to RV and the repopulation of the damaged area was assessed by image analysis. Finally epithelial cell proliferation was assessed by quantitation of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) by flow cytometry.
RV1b, RV5, RV7, RV14 and RV16 were able to induce considerable epithelial cytotoxicity, more pronounced in less dense cultures, in a cell-density and dose-dependent manner. RV9 was not cytotoxic. Furthermore, RV infection diminished the self-repair capacity of bronchial epithelial cells and reduced cell proliferation.
RV-induced epithelial cytotoxicity may become considerable in already compromised epithelium, such as in the case of asthma. The RV-induced impairment on epithelial proliferation and self-repair capacity may contribute to the development of airway remodeling.
PMCID: PMC1283981  PMID: 16216126
22.  IL-4 increases type 2, but not type 1, cytokine production in CD8+ T cells from mild atopic asthmatics 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):67.
Virus infections are the major cause of asthma exacerbations. CD8+ T cells have an important role in antiviral immune responses and animal studies suggest a role for CD8+ T cells in the pathogenesis of virus-induced asthma exacerbations. We have previously shown that the presence of IL-4 during stimulation increases the frequency of IL-5-positive cells and CD30 surface staining in CD8+ T cells from healthy, normal subjects. In this study, we investigated whether excess IL-4 during repeated TCR/CD3 stimulation of CD8+ T cells from atopic asthmatic subjects alters the balance of type 1/type 2 cytokine production in favour of the latter.
Peripheral blood CD8+ T cells from mild atopic asthmatic subjects were stimulated in vitro with anti-CD3 and IL-2 ± excess IL-4 and the expression of activation and adhesion molecules and type 1 and type 2 cytokine production were assessed.
Surface expression of very late antigen-4 [VLA-4] and LFA-1 was decreased and the production of the type 2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 was augmented by the presence of IL-4 during stimulation of CD8+ T cells from mild atopic asthmatics.
These data suggest that during a respiratory virus infection activated CD8+ T cells from asthmatic subjects may produce excess type 2 cytokines and may contribute to asthma exacerbation by augmenting allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC1198257  PMID: 16001979

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