Successful allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) is associated with a marked decrease in symptoms on allergen exposure, a reduced requirement for ‘rescue' anti-allergic drugs and improvement in patients' quality of life. These benefits persist for at least several years following discontinuation of immunotherapy - the hallmark of clinical and immunological tolerance. AIT has been shown to modulate both innate and adaptive immunological responses. Early suppression of innate effector cells of allergic inflammation (mast cells, basophils), regulation of pro-allergic T helper 2 type (Th 2) responses and IgE+ B cell responses have been shown to occur both in the tissue and in the peripheral blood during AIT. The allergen-tolerant state is associated with local and systemic induction of distinct populations of allergen-specific T regulatory cells including IL-10+ Tregs (Tr1 cells), TGF-β+ Tregs and FoxP3+ memory T regs. B cells are switched in favour of producing IgG (particularly IgG4) antibodies and associated blocking activity for IgE-dependent events, including basophil activation and IgE-facilitated allergen binding to B cells. An induction of IL-10+ B regulatory cells and alterations in dendritic cell subsets have also recently been described. These events are followed by the induction of T regulatory cells, suppression of allergen-specific T cell proliferation and immune deviation from Th2 in favour of Th1 responses. Alternative mechanisms of tolerance include apoptosis/deletion of antigen-specific memory Th2 cells and/or a failure of co-stimulation leading to T cell anergy.
The practice of administering sublingual immunotherapy for respiratory allergy is gaining more and more diffusion worldwide as a consequence of the robust demonstration of clinical efficacy and safety provided by recent high-powered and well-designed studies, confirming for individual seasonal allergens the results of previous metanalyses in adult and pediatric populations. Preliminary evidence derives from recent rigorous trials on perennial allergens, like house dust mites, and specifically designed studies addressed the benefits on asthma. Emerging research suggests that SLIT may have a future role in other allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, food, latex and venom allergy. Efforts to develop a safer and more effective SLIT for inhalant allergens have led to the development of allergoids, recombinant allergens and formulations with adjuvants and substances targeting antigens to dendritic cells that possess a crucial role in initiating immune responses. The high degree of variation in the evaluation of clinical effects and immunological changes requires further studies to identify the candidate patients to SLIT and biomarkers of short and long term efficacy. Appropriate management strategies are urgently needed to overcome the barriers to SLIT compliance.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) is the only available curative treatment of allergic diseases. Recent evidence provided a plausible explanation to its multiple mechanisms inducing both rapid desensitization and long-term allergen-specific immune tolerance, and suppression of allergic inflammation in the affected tissues. During SIT, peripheral tolerance is induced by the generation of allergen-specific regulatory T cells, which suppress proliferative and cytokine responses against the allergen of interest. Regulatory T cells are characterized by IL-10 and TGF-beta secretion and expression of important cell surface suppressive molecules such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 and programmed death-1 that directly or indirectly influence effector cells of allergic inflammation, such as mast cells, basophils and eosinophils. Regulatory T cells and particularly IL-10 also have an influence on B cells, suppressing IgE production and inducing the production of blocking type IgG4 antibodies. In addition, development of allergen-specific B regulatory cells that produce IL-10 and develop into IgG4 producing plasma cells represent essential players in peripheral tolerance. These findings together with the new biotechnological approaches create a platform for development of the advanced vaccines. Moreover, reliable biomarkers could be selected and validated with the intention to select the patients who will benefit most from this immune-modifying treatment. Thus, allergen-SIT could provide a complete cure for a larger number of allergic patients and novel preventive approaches need to be elaborated.
Background: In Japan, hydrolyzed wheat proteins (HWP) have been reported to cause wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) by transcutaneous sensitization using HWP-containing soap. Patients develop allergic reactions not only with soap use, but also with exercise after the intake of wheat protein (WP). ω5-Gliadin and HMW-glutenin were identified as major allergens in conventional WP-WDEIA patients. However, the allergens in HWP-WDEIA have yet to be elucidated. Methods: Sera were obtained from 22 patients with HWP-sensitized WDEIA. The allergenic activities of HWP and six recombinant wheat gluten proteins, including α/β-, γ-, ω1,2- and ω5-gliadin and low- and high molecular weight (HMW)-glutenins, were characterized by immunoblot analysis and histamine releasing test. IgE-binding epitopes were identified using arrays of overlapping peptides synthesized on SPOTs membrane. Results: Immunoblot analysis showed that IgE antibodies (Abs) from HWP-WDEIA bound to α/β-, γ- and ω1,2-gliadin. Recombinant γ-gliadin induced significant histamine release from basophils in eight of 11 patients with HWP-WDEIA. An IgE-binding epitope "QPQQPFPQ" was identified within the primary sequence of γ-gliadin, and the deamidated peptide containing the "PEEPFP" sequence bound with IgE Abs more strongly compared to the native epitope-peptide. The epitope-peptide inhibited IgE-binding to HWP, indicating that the specific IgE to HWP cross-reacts with γ-gliadin. Conclusions: HWP-WDEIA patients could be sensitized to HWP containing a PEEPFP sequence, and WDEIA symptoms after WP ingestion could partly be induced by γ-gliadin. These findings could be useful to help develop tools for diagnosis and desensitization therapy for HWP-WDEIA.
Background: Allergy to sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) fruit ingestion is rare. An independent study from our group has identified a basic thaumatin-like protein (TLP 2) as the major allergen. The present study was aimed at identifying and characterizing additional allergens from sapodilla. Methods: Allergic subjects were identified by case history, skin prick test (SPT) and allergen-specific IgE. Sapodilla extract was fractionated using SP-Sepharose into 3 components (SP1, SP2 and SP3) which were analyzed by native/SDS-PAGE, IgE-immunoblot, isoelectric focusing (IEF) and N-terminal sequencing. The conserved regions of plant TLPs and the N-terminal sequence were used to design primers for PCR. Results: SPT and ELISA confirmed a subject with oral allergy syndrome (OAS) to sapodilla and custard apple. Two proteins (26.9 and 24.5kDa; reducing conditions) were detected as allergens, of which the latter in SP2 has already been identified as basic TLP (TLP 2). The 26.9kDa protein present in SP1 was identified as an acidic TLP based on native PAGE, IEF and N-terminal sequencing. Presence of a basic β-1,3-glucanase in SP3 was inferred by zymography. Sequence analysis of the genomic clone of the acidic TLP gene revealed that it is intronless and non-glycosylated. Evolutionary relatedness to olive, grape and kiwi fruit allergenic TLPs were inferred by phylogenetic analysis. Conclusions: An acidic TLP (TLP 1) was identified as a new allergen in sapodilla. TLP 1 is a single polypeptide (207 residues) belonging to the thaumatin family of the GH64-TLP-SF superfamily. Clinically, sapodilla should be considered in the list of fruits causing OAS.
Background: Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays critical roles in the induction and exacerbation of allergic diseases. We tested various chemicals in the environment and found that xylene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene induced the production of TSLP in vivo. These findings prompted us to search for additional chemicals that induce TSLP production. In this study, we examined whether fatty acids could induce the production of TSLP in vivo and exacerbate allergic inflammation. Methods: Various fatty acids and related compounds were painted on the ear lobes of mice and the amount of TSLP in the homogenate of ear lobe tissue was determined. The effects of nonanoic acid on allergic inflammation were also examined. Results: Octanoic acid, nonanoic acid, and decanoic acid markedly induced TSLP production, while a medium-chain aldehyde and alcohol showed only weak activity. Nonanoic acid induced the production of TSLP with a maximum at 24 h. TSLP production was even observed in nonanoic acid-treated C3H/HeJ mice that lacked functional toll-like receptor 4. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist β-naphthoflavone did not induce TSLP production. Nonanoic acid promoted sensitization to ovalbumin, resulting in an enhancement in the cutaneous anaphylactic response. In addition, painting of nonanoic acid after the sensitization augmented picryl chloride-induced thickening of the ear, which was reversed in TSLP receptor-deficient mice. Conclusions: Nonanoic acid and certain fatty acids induced TSLP production, resulting in the exacerbation of allergic inflammation. We propose that TSLP-inducing chemical compounds such as nonanoic acid be recognized as chemical allergo-accelerators.
Background: Eczema in the cubital fossa, which is susceptible to sweat, is frequently observed in atopic dermatitis (AD). However, there has been no direct evidence that sweating causes eczema in the cubital fossa. Methods: To investigate this issue, axon reflex-mediated sweating volume (AXR) and skin barrier function in the cubital fossa were measured in subjects with AD and in healthy volunteers, and were applied to clinical feature of the cubital fossa. Results: AXR in the cubital fossa decreased in AD subjects; it positively correlated only with water-holding capacity in healthy subjects but not in patients with in AD. Furthermore, AD subjects with lichenoid eczema and either prurigo or papules over the cubital fossa showed extremely decreased AXR. Conclusions: These results suggest that decreased sweating is a major source of water in the stratum corneum, and decreased sudomotor function may be involved in both the cause and aggravation of representative atopic eczema in the cubital fossa.
Background: Surgical treatment for inferior turbinate (IT) is selected to treat severe allergic rhinitis (AR) that is unresponsive to conservative treatment. This study aimed to determine the clinical effects of outpatient submucosal IT surgery (OSITS) on patients with severe AR. Methods: Between January 2008 and August 2012, 95 patients with severe AR who underwent OSITS at the Department of Otolaryngology, Hyogo College of Medicine, were retrospectively analyzed. There were 53 men and 42 women. Their mean age was 27 years (11-75 years). OSITS was bilaterally performed using a bipolar radiofrequency electrocautery under local anesthesia. Symptoms, QOL, and physical findings were evaluated using scores from both pre- and postoperative periods (average: 12.4 months), according to Practical Guideline for the Management of AR in Japan 2009. Results: In perennial AR, all mean scores of nasal symptoms, QOL, and physical findings significantly improved after OSITS (p < 0.05, n = 83). Nasal obstruction, sleep problems, and IT congestion were the most strongly affected. Eye symptoms were not influenced by OSITS. OSITS also showed significant effects on nasal obstruction and IT congestion in seasonal AR (p < 0.05, n = 12), but not sneezing, nasal discharge, and QOL. In terms of the efficacy, OSITS was beneficial in 90% of perennial AR cases and 75% of seasonal AR cases. Epistaxis (1%), vestibulitis (1%), and IT atrophy (4%) were observed after OSITS. Conclusions: These data indicate that OSITS using radiofrequency electrocautery could be a beneficial therapeutic option in patients with severe AR.
Background: Statistically significant results of medical intervention trials are not always clinically meaningful. We sought to estimate the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) (the smallest change in a given endpoint that is meaningful to a patient) during seasonal alteration of Japanese cedar/cypress pollinosis (JCCP). Methods: Results of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of JCCP patients conducted between 2008 and 2010 were analyzed using an anchor-based method in which a face scale for Japanese rhinoconjunctivitis quality-of-life questionnaire (JRQLQ) was set as an anchor. MICDs were calculated as changes of average scores, including those for naso-ocular symptoms with 5 items in diary cards (T5SS), naso-ocular symptoms with 6 items (T6SS) and QOL with 17 items on the JRQLQ when face scale scores either improved or deteriorated by one point. Results: In 2009 and 2010, 3,698 and 374, respectively, grains/cm2 of pollens were dispersed. The MCIDs for T5SS in 2009 and 2010 were 1.426 (0.285 per item) and 1.441 (0.288), respectively. The MCIDs for T6SS were 4.115 (0.686) and 3.183 (0.531) in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The MCIDs for QOL were 10.469 (0.616) and 6.026 (0.354) in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Conclusions: For T5SS in the diary, T6SS and QOL in JRQLQ, unit differences of 1.5 (0.3 per item), 3.6 (0.6) and 8.2 (0.5), respectively, were considered clinically meaningful by JCCP patients. The MCID for symptoms recorded in the diary was stable irrespective of the dispersed pollen level.
Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is characterized by local inflammation of the sinonasal tissues. CRS patients with nasal polyps and asthma often develop acute exacerbation of sinonasal symptoms after upper respiratory tract infections. However, the influence of concomitant asthma on the nasal immune response to viral infection remains unclear. Methods: Specimens of nasal polyp and mucosal tissues were obtained from 3 groups of CRS patients (n = 14 per group): 1) patients without asthma (CRS group), 2) patients with aspirin-tolerant asthma (ATA group), and 3) patients with aspirin-intolerant asthma (AIA group). Nasal fibroblasts isolated from the specimens were stimulated with poly I:C. CXCL10 expression was analyzed by the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay. Biopsy specimens from CRS patients without asthma were subjected to immunohistochemistry for detection of T-bet and GATA-3 expression in CD3+ T cells by double labeling. Results: Nasal fibroblasts from the ATA and AIA groups showed significantly enhanced expression of CXCL10 mRNA and protein after poly I:C stimulation compared with cells from the CRS group and the control group (normal nasal mucosa). In addition to T helper (Th)2 cells, there was more abundant infiltration of Th1 cells into tissues from the AIA and ATA groups. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that CRS associated with asthma may become intractable through the over-production of CXCL10 in response to viral infection.
Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especially aspirin, and food additives (FAs) may exacerbate allergic symptoms in patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria and food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA). Augmentation of histamine release from human mast cells and basophils by those substances is speculated to be the cause of exacerbated allergic symptoms. We sought to investigate the mechanism of action of aspirin on IgE-mediated histamine release. Methods: The effects of NSAIDs, FAs or cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors on histamine release from human basophils concentrated by gravity separation were evaluated. Results: Benzoate and tartrazine, which have no COX inhibitory activity, augmented histamine release from basophils similar to aspirin. In contrast, ibuprofen, meloxicam, FR122047 and NS-398, which have COX inhibitory activity, did not affect histamine release. These results indicate that the augmentation of histamine release by aspirin is not due to COX inhibition. It was observed that aspirin augmented histamine release from human basophils only when specifically activated by anti-IgE antibodies, but not by A23187 or formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. When the IgE receptor signaling pathway was activated, aspirin increased the phosphorylation of Syk. Moreover, patients with chronic urticaria and FDEIA tended to be more sensitive to aspirin as regards the augmentation of histamine release, compared with healthy controls. Conclusions: Aspirin enhanced histamine release from basophils via increased Syk kinase activation, and that the augmentation of histamine release by NSAIDs or FAs may be one possible cause of worsening symptoms in patients with chronic urticaria and FDEIA.