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1.  Pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis, pharmaceutical therapy options 
Research in immunology has brought great progress in knowledge of inflammatory processes in the last 2 decades, which also has an impact on the upper airways. Our understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis developed from a rather mechanistic point of view with a focus on narrow clefts and mucociliary clearance to the appreciation of a complex network of immunological pathways forming the basis of disease. We today differentiate various forms of inflammation, we start to understand complex immune-regulatory networks and the reasons for their failure, and have already developed innovative approaches for therapy for the most severely ill subjects. Due to this new knowledge in inflammation and remodeling processes within mucosal tissue, specifically on the key driving factors, new diagnostic tools and therapeutic approaches for chronic rhinosinusitis have developed; the differentiation of endotypes based on pathophysiological principles will be crucial for the use of innovative therapies, mostly humanized monoclonal antibodies. Several hundred of those antibodies are currently developed for various indications and will impact our specialty as well as pneumology to a great extent.
PMCID: PMC4702058  PMID: 26770283
chronic rhinosinusitis; pathophysiology; cluster analysis; phenotypes; endotypes; Staphylococcus aureus; biologics
2.  Advances in allergen-microarray technology for diagnosis and monitoring of allergy: The MeDALL allergen-chip 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2013;66(1):106-119.
Allergy diagnosis based on purified allergen molecules provides detailed information regarding the individual sensitization profile of allergic patients, allows monitoring of the development of allergic disease and of the effect of therapies on the immune response to individual allergen molecules. Allergen microarrays contain a large variety of allergen molecules and thus allow the simultaneous detection of allergic patients’ antibody reactivity profiles towards each of the allergen molecules with only minute amounts of serum. In this article we summarize recent progress in the field of allergen microarray technology and introduce the MeDALL allergen-chip which has been developed for the specific and sensitive monitoring of IgE and IgG reactivity profiles towards more than 170 allergen molecules in sera collected in European birth cohorts. MeDALL is a European research program in which allergen microarray technology is used for the monitoring of the development of allergic disease in childhood, to draw a geographic map of the recognition of clinically relevant allergens in different populations and to establish reactivity profiles which are associated with and predict certain disease manifestations. We describe technical advances of the MeDALL allergen-chip regarding specificity, sensitivity and its ability to deliver test results which are close to in vivo reactivity. In addition, the usefulness and numerous advantages of allergen microarrays for allergy research, refined allergy diagnosis, monitoring of disease, of the effects of therapies, for improving the prescription of specific immunotherapy and for prevention are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4687054  PMID: 24161540
Allergen-microarray; Sensitivity; Blocking antibodies; Allergy-diagnosis; Recombinant allergen; Immunoglobulin E; Immunoglobulin G
3.  The hidden burden of adult allergic rhinitis: UK healthcare resource utilisation survey 
The affliction of allergic rhinitis (AR) has been trivialised in the past. Recent initiatives by the European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and by the EU parliament seek to rectify that situation. The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive picture of the burden and unmet need of AR patients.
This was a cross-sectional, online, questionnaire-based study (June–July 2011) including symptomatic seasonal AR (SAR) patients (≥18 years) from a panel. SAR episode pattern, severity, medication/co-medication usage, residual symptoms on treatment, number of healthcare visits, absenteeism and presenteeism were collected.
One thousand patients were recruited (mild: n = 254; moderate/severe: n = 746). Patients with moderate/severe disease had significantly more symptomatic episodes/year (8.0 vs 6.0/year; p = 0.025) with longer episode-duration (12.5 vs 9.8 days; p = 0.0041) and more commonly used ≥2 AR therapies (70.5 vs 56.1 %; OR 1.87; p = 0.0001), looking for better and faster nasal and ocular symptom relief. The reported symptom burden was high irrespective of treatment, and significantly (p < 0.0001) higher in the moderate/severe group. Patients with moderate/severe AR were more likely to visit their GP (1.61 vs 1.19 times/year; OR: 1.49; p = 0.0061); due to dissatisfaction with therapy in 35.4 % of cases. Patients reported SAR-related absenteeism from work on 4.1 days/year (total cost to UK: £1.25 billion/year) and noted presenteeism for a mean of 37.7 days/year (vs 21.0 days/year; OR 1.71; p = 0.0048). Asthma co-morbid patients reported the need to increase their reliever- (1 in 2 patients) and controller-medication (1 in 5 patients) if they did not take their rhinitis medication.
This study differentiated between patients with mild and moderate/severe AR, demonstrating a burden of poorly controlled symptoms and high co-medication use. The deficiency in obtaining symptom control with what are currently considered firstline treatments suggests the need for a novel therapeutic approach.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13601-015-0083-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4650835  PMID: 26583068
Allergic rhinitis; UK; Symptom episode; Co-medication; Absenteeism; Presenteeism
4.  A common language to assess allergic rhinitis control: results from a survey conducted during EAACI 2013 Congress 
The concept of control is gaining importance in the field of allergic rhinitis (AR), with a visual analogue scale (VAS) score being a validated, easy and attractive tool to evaluate AR symptom control. The doctors’ perception of a VAS score as a good tool for evaluating AR symptom control is unknown, as is the level of AR control perceived by physicians who treat patients.
307 voluntarily selected physicians attending the annual (2013) European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) meeting completed a digital survey. Delegates were asked to (1) estimate how many AR patients/week they saw during the season, (2) estimate the proportion of patients they considered to have well-, partly- and un-controlled AR, (3) communicate how they gauged this control and (4) assess how useful they would find a VAS as a method of gauging control. 257 questionnaires were filled out completely and analysed.
EAACI delegates reported seeing 46.8 [standard deviation (SD) 68.5] AR patients/week during the season. They estimated that 38.7 % (SD 24.0), 34.2 % (SD 20.2) and 20.0 % (SD 16.34) of their AR patients had well-controlled (no AR symptoms), partly-controlled (some AR symptoms), or un-controlled-(moderate/severe AR symptoms) disease despite taking medication [remainder unknown (7.1 %)]. However, AR control was assessed in many ways, including symptom severity (74 %), frequency of day- and night-time symptoms (67 %), activity impairment (57 %), respiratory function monitoring (nasal and/or lung function; 40 %) and incidence of AR exacerbations (50 %). 91 % of delegates felt a simple VAS would be a useful tool to gauge AR symptom control.
A substantial portion of patients with AR are perceived as having uncontrolled or partly controlled disease even when treated. A simple VAS score is considered a useful tool to monitor AR control.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13601-015-0080-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4621924  PMID: 26509001
Allergic rhinitis; Control; Digital; Survey; Visual analogue scale; VAS
5.  Effects of Bifidobacterium Breve Feeding Strategy and Delivery Modes on Experimental Allergic Rhinitis Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0140018.
Different delivery modes may affect the susceptibility to allergic diseases. It is still unknown whether early intervention with probiotics would counteract this effect.
The effect of different delivery modes on immune status and nasal symptoms was investigated on established allergic rhinitis (AR) mouse model. In addition, the immunoregulatory effects and mechanisms of different feeding manners with Bifidobacterium breve(B. breve) were examined.
Live lyophilized B. breve was orally administered to BALB/c mice born via vaginal delivery(VD) or cesarean delivery (CD) for 8 consecutive weeks, after which they were sensitized by ovalbumin(OVA) to establish experimental AR. Nasal symptoms, serum immunoglobulins, cytokines, splenic percentages of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T(Treg) cells and nasal eosinophil infiltration were evaluated.
Compared with VD mice, mice delivered via CD demonstrated more serious nasal symptoms, higher concentrations of OVA-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E, more nasal eosinophils and lower percentages of splenic CD4+CD25+Foxp3+Treg cells after establishing experimental AR. These parameters were reversed by administering B. breves hortly after birth. However, the effect of B. breve did not differ between different delivery modes.
CD aggravates the nasal symptoms of AR mice compared to VD. This is the first report that oral administration of B. breve shortly after birth can significantly alleviate the symptoms of AR mice born via both deliveries, probably via activation of the regulatory capacity of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+Treg cells.
PMCID: PMC4596842  PMID: 26445348
6.  Allergen immunotherapy on the way to product-based evaluation—a WAO statement 
Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is widely used in clinical practice for patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis due to inhalant allergens and may be delivered via subcutaneous (SCIT) and sublingual routes (SLIT). However, the quality of evidence for individual AIT products is very heterogeneous, and extensions of overall conclusions (“class effects”) on the efficacy and disease-modifying effects to all AIT products are unjustified. In contrast, each product needs to be evaluated individually, based on available study results, to justify efficacy and specific claims on sustained and disease modifying effects per allergen and targeted patient group (children vs. adults, allergic rhinitis vs. asthma). WAO intends to support the current development to evidence-based AIT, which ultimately will lead to a more efficacious treatment of allergic patients and the appropriate recognition of AIT.
PMCID: PMC4571059  PMID: 26417398
7.  Association of Mucosal Organisms with Patterns of Inflammation in Chronic Rhinosinusitis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0136068.
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a multifactorial process disease in which bacterial infection or colonization may play an important role in the initiation or persistence of inflammatory response. The association between mucosal bacteria presence and inflammatory patterns has only been partially explored.
To demonstrate specific mucosal microorganisms possible association with inflammatory patterns.
We collected nasal polyps or sinus tissues from a clinical selection of six patient groups with defined sinus disease using tissue biomarkers. In the tissues, we detected bacteria using peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA-FISH).
After reviewing a total of 115 samples (15–20 samples per group), the mucosal presence of Staphylococcus aureus was correlated with IL-5 and SE-IgE positive chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and nasal polyps from cystic fibrosis patients. Chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps with TNFα >20 pg/ml was associated with the mucosal presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This study identifies the relationship between intramucosal microbes and inflammatory patterns, suggesting that bacteria may affect the type of inflammation in chronic rhinosinusitis. Additional investigation is needed to further identify the nature of the relationship.
PMCID: PMC4537217  PMID: 26275068
8.  Allergy immunotherapy with a hypoallergenic recombinant birch pollen allergen rBet v 1-FV in a randomized controlled trial 
Pollen extracts and chemically modified allergoids are used successfully in allergen immunotherapy (AIT). Recombinant extracts offer potential advantages with respect to pharmaceutical quality, standardization and dosing. A hypoallergenic recombinant folding variant of the major birch pollen allergen (rBet v 1-FV) was compared with an established native birch preparation. A pre-seasonal, randomized, actively controlled phase II study was performed in birch pollen allergic rhino-conjunctivitis with or without asthma, GINA I/ II. 51 patients (24 rBet v 1-FV, 27 native extract) started therapy with subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (SCIT). Primary end-point was a combined symptom medication score (SMS), changes in nasal provocation test, visual rating score and specific antibody responses secondary end-points.
After one pre-seasonal treatment course the combined SMS was 5.86 (median; IQR: 14.02) for the rBet v 1-FV group versus 12.40 (median; IQR: 9.32) for the comparator during the three weeks pollen season (p = 0.330). After treatment in the second year, scores were 3.00 (median; IQR: 6.50) and 2.93 (4.86) respectively. Allergen tolerance in a nasal provocation test improved to a comparable extent in both groups. Significant increases in birch pollen-specific IgG1 and IgG4 were observed in both treatment groups following the first treatment phase and remained significantly raised until the end of the study.
In this first in man, proof of concept phase II trial no statistical difference between rBet v 1-FV and an established natural pollen extract could be observed. rBet v 1-FV could be administered in higher doses than the native protein with no increase in adverse effects.
Trial registration
The study was registered in (NCT00266526).
PMCID: PMC4553934  PMID: 26328056
Allergy immunotherapy; Subcutaneous immunotherapy; Birch pollen; Allergic rhinitis; Rhino-conjunctivitis; Birch pollen; Recombinant Bet v 1; Hypoallergenic variant; Folding variant; Recombinant allergen
9.  Local Immunoglobulin E in the Nasal Mucosa: Clinical Implications 
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) can be highly elevated in the airway mucosa independently of IgE serum levels and atopic status. Mostly, systemic markers are assessed to investigate inflammation in airway disease for research or clinical practice. A more accurate but more cumbersome approach to determine inflammation at the target organ would be to evaluate markers locally. We review evidence for local production of IgE in allergic rhinitis (AR) and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP). Diagnostic and therapeutic consequences in clinical practice are discussed. We describe that the airway mucosa has the intrinsic capability to produce IgE. Moreover, not only do IgE-positive B cells reside within the mucosa, but all tools are present locally for affinity maturation by somatic hypermutation (SHM), clonal expansion, and class switch recombination to IgE. Recognizing local IgE in the absence of systemic IgE has diagnostic and therapeutic consequences. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of local IgE in patients with a history of AR or CRSwNP.
PMCID: PMC4446630  PMID: 25749769
local IgE; allergic rhinitis; local allergic rhinitis; chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps; diagnostics; treatment
10.  TMEM16A-Mediated Mucin Secretion in IL-13-Induced Nasal Epithelial Cells From Chronic Rhinosinusitis Patients 
Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP), a mainly Th2 cytokine-mediated disease, often involves mucus secretion. Recent evidence suggests that transmembrane protein 16A (TMEM16A), a calcium-activated Cl- channel (CaCC), can regulate mucus secretion from airway epithelium by transepithelial electrolyte transport and hydration. However, the role of TMEM16A in mucin production/secretion in the airway epithelium is not clear. This study was conducted to determine the role of TMEM16A in mediating mucin secretion in human nasal polyp epithelial cells (HNPECs) induced by IL-13.
Human sinonasal mucosa tissue and dissociated sinonasal epithelium from control subjects and patients with CRSwNP were assessed for the expression of TMEM16A and the secretion of human mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) by immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA). A model of the Th2 inflammatory environment was created by exposure of primary air-liquid interface (ALI)-cultured HNPECs to interleukin-13 (IL-13) for 14 days, with subsequent assessment of TMEM16A expression in cell lysates by Western blotting and MUC5AC secretion in apical washings of cells by ELISA.
The expressions of TMEM16A and MUC5AC were increased in human nasal polyp tissue and dissociated nasal polyp epithelium. TMEM16A was detected in IL-13-treated HNPECs, specifically in MUC5AC-positive cells but not in ciliated cells. IL-13 treatment increased percentages of TMEM16A-positive cells, MUC5AC-positive cells, and cells coexpressing TMEM16A/MUC5AC, the expression of TMEM16A protein, and the secretion of MUC5AC. T16Ainh-A01, a TMEM16A inhibitor, attenuated these IL-13-induced effects.
The expression of TMEM16A and MUC5AC are increased in CRSwNP, which might be a direct effect of Th2 cytokines present in the sinonasal mucosa in CRSwNP. Down-regulation of TMEM16A expression and MUC5AC secretion in HNPECs by T16Ainh-A01 indicates that TMEM16A might play an important role in mucin secretion in upper airway inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC4446635  PMID: 25749771
Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps; MUC5AC; mucin secretion; nasal epithelial cells; TMEM16A
11.  Airway Inflammation in Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps and Asthma: The United Airways Concept Further Supported 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0127228.
It has been established that patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) often have co-existing asthma.
We aimed to test two hypotheses: (i) upper and lower airway inflammation in CRSwNP is uniform in agreement with the united airways concept; and (ii) bronchial inflammation exists in all CRSwNP patients irrespective of clinical asthma status.
We collected biopsies from nasal polyps, inferior turbinates and bronchi of 27 CRSwNP patients and 6 controls. All participants were evaluated for lower airway disease according to international guidelines. Inflammatory cytokines were investigated using a Th1/Th2 assay including 14 chemokines and cytokines; tissue concentrations were normalized according to tissue weight and total protein concentration. Individual cytokines and multivariate inflammatory profiles were compared between biopsy sites and between patients and controls.
We found significantly higher concentrations of Th2 cytokines in nasal polyps compared to inferior turbinate and bronchial biopsies. In addition, we showed that the inflammatory profile of nasal polyps and bronchial biopsies correlated significantly (p<0.01). From the Th2 cytokines measured, IL-13 was significantly increased in bronchial biopsies from CRSwNP patients with, but not without asthma.
Our findings support the united airways concept; however, we did not find evidence for subclinical bronchial inflammation in CRSwNP patients without asthma. Finally, this study indicates for the first time that nasal polyps potentially play an important role in the airway inflammation rather than being a secondary phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC4489400  PMID: 26132710
12.  Herbal drug BNO 1016 is safe and effective in the treatment of acute viral rhinosinusitis 
Acta Oto-Laryngologica  2015;135(1):42-50.
Conclusion: Daily intake of 480 mg of BNO 1016 for 15 days is an effective treatment in acute viral rhinosinusitis. Objectives: The pooled efficacy data of two similar randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials were analyzed. Safety was evaluated on the basis of the individual trials. Methods: The efficacy analysis was based on 589 patients. Treatment was performed orally with either 3 × 160 mg BNO 1016 (n = 294) or 3 × placebo (n = 295) for 15 days. In both trials patients underwent five visits to the investigational sites. Symptoms were evaluated according to the EPOS 2012 guideline. Ultrasonography was used to confirm the diagnosis at onset of treatment and the remission of symptoms at the last visit. Efficacy was evaluated by the investigator as the mean major symptom score (MSS) at the end of treatment (visit 5, day 14). Patients reported symptoms and social/emotional consequences of rhinosinusitis using a quality of life questionnaire (SNOT-20 GAV). Results: MSS improved during the treatment period by a mean of 10.02 ± 1.61 score points to 2.47 ± 2.55 for BNO 1016 and of 9.87 ± 1.52 to 3.63 ± 3.63 for placebo. Differences between treatment groups at end of therapy (1.16 ± 3.14 score points; p < 0.0001) and patient-assessed quality of life (p = 0.0015) were statistically significant in favor of BNO 1016.
PMCID: PMC4487568  PMID: 25496178
Dry extract; major symptom score; MSS; Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-20); EPOS 2012; ultrasonography
24.  Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases 
Allergo Journal International  2014;23(8):282-319.
The present guideline (S2k) on allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) was established by the German, Austrian and Swiss professional associations for allergy in consensus with the scientific specialist societies and professional associations in the fields of otolaryngology, dermatology and venereology, pediatric and adolescent medicine, pneumology as well as a German patient organization (German Allergy and Asthma Association; Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund, DAAB) according to the criteria of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften, AWMF).
AIT is a therapy with disease-modifying effects. By administering allergen extracts, specific blocking antibodies, toler-ance-inducing cells and mediators are activated. These prevent further exacerbation of the allergen-triggered immune response, block the specific immune response and attenuate the inflammatory response in tissue.
Products for SCIT or SLIT cannot be compared at present due to their heterogeneous composition, nor can allergen concentrations given by different manufacturers be compared meaningfully due to the varying methods used to measure their active ingredients. Non-modified allergens are used for SCIT in the form of aqueous or physically adsorbed (depot) extracts, as well as chemically modified allergens (allergoids) as depot extracts. Allergen extracts for SLIT are used in the form of aqueous solutions or tablets.
The clinical efficacy of AIT is measured using various scores as primary and secondary study endpoints. The EMA stipulates combined symptom and medication scores as primary endpoint. A harmonization of clinical endpoints, e. g., by using the combined symptom and medication scores (CSMS) recommended by the EAACI, is desirable in the future in order to permit the comparison of results from different studies. The current CONSORT recommendations from the ARIA/GA2LEN group specify standards for the evaluation, presentation and publication of study results.
According to the Therapy allergen ordinance (TAV), preparations containing common allergen sources (pollen from grasses, birch, alder, hazel, house dust mites, as well as bee and wasp venom) need a marketing authorization in Germany. During the marketing authorization process, these preparations are examined regarding quality, safety and efficacy. In the opinion of the authors, authorized allergen preparations with documented efficacy and safety, or preparations tradeable under the TAV for which efficacy and safety have already been documented in clinical trials meeting WAO or EMA standards, should be preferentially used. Individual formulations (NPP) enable the prescription of rare allergen sources (e.g., pollen from ash, mugwort or ambrosia, mold Alternaria, animal allergens) for specific immunotherapy. Mixing these allergens with TAV allergens is not permitted.
Allergic rhinitis and its associated co-morbidities (e. g., bronchial asthma) generate substantial direct and indirect costs. Treatment options, in particular AIT, are therefore evaluated using cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses. From a long-term perspective, AIT is considered to be significantly more cost effective in allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma than pharmacotherapy, but is heavily dependent on patient compliance.
Meta-analyses provide unequivocal evidence of the efficacy of SCIT and SLIT for certain allergen sources and age groups. Data from controlled studies differ in terms of scope, quality and dosing regimens and require product-specific evaluation. Therefore, evaluating individual preparations according to clearly defined criteria is recommended. A broad transfer of the efficacy of certain preparations to all preparations administered in the same way is not endorsed. The website of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (; DGAKI: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allergologie und klinische Immunologie) provides tables with specific information on available products for AIT in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The tables contain the number of clinical studies per product in adults and children, the year of market authorization, underlying scoring systems, number of randomized and analyzed subjects and the method of evaluation (ITT, FAS, PP), separately given for grass pollen, birch pollen and house dust mite allergens, and the status of approval for the conduct of clinical studies with these products.
Strong evidence of the efficacy of SCIT in pollen allergy-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in adulthood is well-documented in numerous trials and, in childhood and adolescence, in a few trials. Efficacy in house dust mite allergy is documented by a number of controlled trials in adults and few controlled trials in children. Only a few controlled trials, independent of age, are available for mold allergy (in particular Alternaria). With regard to animal dander allergies (primarily to cat allergens), only small studies, some with methodological deficiencies are available. Only a moderate and inconsistent therapeutic effect in atopic dermatitis has been observed in the quite heterogeneous studies conducted to date. SCIT has been well investigated for individual preparations in controlled bronchial asthma as defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2007 and intermittent and mild persistent asthma (GINA 2005) and it is recommended as a treatment option, in addition to allergen avoidance and pharmacotherapy, provided there is a clear causal link between respiratory symptoms and the relevant allergen.
The efficacy of SLIT in grass pollen-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is extensively documented in adults and children, whilst its efficacy in tree pollen allergy has only been shown in adults. New controlled trials (some with high patient numbers) on house dust mite allergy provide evidence of efficacy of SLIT in adults.
Compared with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, there are only few studies on the efficacy of SLIT in allergic asthma. In this context, newer studies show an efficacy for SLIT on asthma symptoms in the subgroup of grass pollen allergic children, adolescents and adults with asthma and efficacy in primary house dust mite allergy-induced asthma in adolescents aged from 14 years and in adults.
Aspects of secondary prevention, in particular the reduction of new sensitizations and reduced asthma risk, are important rationales for choosing to initiate treatment early in childhood and adolescence. In this context, those products for which the appropriate effects have been demonstrated should be considered.
SCIT or SLIT with pollen or mite allergens can be performed in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis using allergen extracts that have been proven to be effective in at least one double-blind placebo-controlled (DBPC) study. At present, clinical trials are underway for the indication in asthma due to house dust mite allergy, some of the results of which have already been published, whilst others are still awaited (see the DGAKI table “Approved/potentially completed studies” via (according to When establishing the indication for AIT, factors that favour clinical efficacy should be taken into consideration. Differences between SCIT and SLIT are to be considered primarily in terms of contraindications. In individual cases, AIT may be justifiably indicated despite the presence of contraindications.
SCIT injections and the initiation of SLIT are performed by a physician experienced in this type of treatment and who is able to administer emergency treatment in the case of an allergic reaction. Patients must be fully informed about the procedure and risks of possible adverse events, and the details of this process must be documented (see “Treatment information sheet”; available as a handout via Treatment should be performed according to the manufacturer‘s product information leaflet. In cases where AIT is to be performed or continued by a different physician to the one who established the indication, close cooperation is required in order to ensure that treatment is implemented consistently and at low risk. In general, it is recommended that SCIT and SLIT should only be performed using preparations for which adequate proof of efficacy is available from clinical trials.
Treatment adherence among AIT patients is lower than assumed by physicians, irrespective of the form of administration. Clearly, adherence is of vital importance for treatment success. Improving AIT adherence is one of the most important future goals, in order to ensure efficacy of the therapy.
Severe, potentially life-threatening systemic reactions during SCIT are possible, but – providing all safety measures are adhered to – these events are very rare. Most adverse events are mild to moderate and can be treated well.
Dose-dependent adverse local reactions occur frequently in the mouth and throat in SLIT. Systemic reactions have been described in SLIT, but are seen far less often than with SCIT. In terms of anaphylaxis and other severe systemic reactions, SLIT has a better safety profile than SCIT.
The risk and effects of adverse systemic reactions in the setting of AIT can be effectively reduced by training of personnel, adhering to safety standards and prompt use of emergency measures, including early administration of i. m. epinephrine. Details on the acute management of anaphylactic reactions can be found in the current S2 guideline on anaphylaxis issued by the AWMF (S2-AWMF-LL Registry Number 061-025).
AIT is undergoing some innovative developments in many areas (e. g., allergen characterization, new administration routes, adjuvants, faster and safer dose escalation protocols), some of which are already being investigated in clinical trials.
Cite this as Pfaar O, Bachert C, Bufe A, Buhl R, Ebner C, Eng P, Friedrichs F, Fuchs T, Hamelmann E, Hartwig-Bade D, Hering T, Huttegger I, Jung K, Klimek L, Kopp MV, Merk H, Rabe U, Saloga J, Schmid-Grendelmeier P, Schuster A, Schwerk N, Sitter H, Umpfenbach U, Wedi B, Wöhrl S, Worm M, Kleine-Tebbe J. Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases – S2k Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the Society for Pediatric Allergy and Environmental Medicine (GPA), the Medical Association of German Allergologists (AeDA), the Austrian Society for Allergy and Immunology (ÖGAI), the Swiss Society for Allergy and Immunology (SGAI), the German Society of Dermatology (DDG), the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO-KHC), the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ), the Society for Pediatric Pneumology (GPP), the German Respiratory Society (DGP), the German Association of ENT Surgeons (BV-HNO), the Professional Federation of Paediatricians and Youth Doctors (BVKJ), the Federal Association of Pulmonologists (BDP) and the German Dermatologists Association (BVDD). Allergo J Int 2014;23:282–319
PMCID: PMC4479478  PMID: 26120539
allergen-specific immunotherapy; AIT; Hyposensitization; guideline; allergen; allergen extract; allergic disease; allergic rhinitis; allergic asthma
25.  Differential Expression and Release of Activin A and Follistatin in Chronic Rhinosinusitis with and without Nasal Polyps 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128564.
Chronic rhinosinusitis with (CRSwNP) and without nasal polyps (CRSsNP) should be regarded as distinct clinical entities based on differential inflammatory mediator and remodeling profiles. Activin A, a member of the TGF-β superfamily, plays an important role in inflammation and remodeling in the lower airways, although its expression and release in the upper airways remain undescribed.
To investigate the expression of activin A and its inhibitor follistatin in nasal tissue samples from CRSsNP and CRSwNP patients, and to monitor the spontaneous release of these molecules in a human mucosal model.
Protein levels were determined using ELISA for activin A, follistatin, TGF-β1 and indicator proteins (IL-5, ECP, IFNγ) in 13 CRSsNP, 23 CRSwNP, and 10 control samples. The spontaneous release rate and the release ratios of activin A, follistatin and TGF-β1 were determined in 9 CRSsNP and 7 CRSwNP tissue fragments cultured ex-vivo. The induction of activin A and TGF-β1 by one another was studied in 7 CRSsNP tissue fragments cultured ex-vivo.
Significantly higher concentrations of activin A, follistatin, TGF-β1, and IFNγ were observed in CRSsNP compared with CRSwNP samples, whereas the concentrations of IL-5 and ECP were significantly lower. Follistatin was positively and linearly correlated with activin A in CRSsNP and CRSwNP. Activin A, follistatin and TGF-β1 were all spontaneously released by the samples, although the relative ratios released by tissue fragments from CRSsNP and CRSwNP samples were significantly different, with a higher follistatin/activin A-ratio and a follistatin/TGFß1-ratio (with less overall TGF-β1) in CRSwNP than in CRSsNP. Furthermore, TGF-β1 enhanced activin A secretion in CRSsNP tissue fragments cultured ex-vivo.
The differences in tissue concentrations and spontaneous release rates for activin A and follistatin in different CRS samples support the hypothesis that CRSsNP and CRSwNP are two distinct disease entities with respect to remodeling patterns.
PMCID: PMC4451080  PMID: 26030615

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