Mast cell activation is crucial to the development of allergic disease. New studies have shown that both IgE-dependent and -independent mast cell activation is temporally regulated by the circadian clock, a time-of-day-keeping system that consists of transcriptional-translational feedback loops of several clock genes. For instance, the core clock gene Clock controls the expression of the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) and interleukin-33 (IL-33) receptor ST2 on mast cells in a time-dependent manner. As a result, the threshold of IgE-dependent or IL-33-dependent mast cell activation differs between daytime and nighttime. This mechanism may underlie the observation that allergic disease shows a marked day-night change in symptom occurrence and severity. Consistent with this novel concept, environmental and lifestyle factors that disturb the normal rhythmicity of the circadian clock, such as irregular eating habits, can lead to the loss of circadian control of mast cell activation. Consequently, the degree of mast cell activation becomes equally strong at all times of day, which might clinically result in worsening allergic symptoms. Therefore, further understanding of the association between mast cell activation and the circadian clock is important to better manage patients with allergic disease in the real world, characterized by a “24/7 society” filled with environmental and lifestyle factors that disturb the circadian clock rhythmicity.
Steroid hormones, especially glucocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens, have profound influence on immunity. Recent studies using cell-type specific steroid hormone receptor-deficient mice have revealed the precise roles of some of these hormones in the immune system. Glucocorticoids are known to have strong anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects and pleiotropic effects on innate and adaptive immune responses. They suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines by macrophages and DCs and the production of IFN-γ by NK cells, thus inhibiting innate immunity. By contrast, glucocorticoids enhance the immune response by inducing the expression of IL-7R and CXCR4 in T cells and the accumulation of T cells in lymphoid organs in accordance with the diurnal change of the glucocorticoid concentration. Thus, glucocorticoids suppress innate immunity but enhance adaptive immunity. Androgens suppress the homeostasis and activation of ILC2s and the differentiation of Th2 and Th17 cells and enhance the suppressive function of Tregs, thereby alleviating allergic airway inflammation. Thus, these steroid hormones have pleiotropic functions in the immune system. Further investigations are awaited on the regulation of immunity and allergy by estrogens using cell-specific steroid hormone receptor-deficient mice.
Clock genes, circadian pacemaker resides in the paired suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), control various circadian rhythms in many biological processes such as physiology and behavior. Clock gene regulates many diseases such as cancer, immunological dysfunction, metabolic syndrome and sleep disorders etc. Chronotherapy is especially relevant, when the risk and/or intensity of the symptoms of disease vary predicably over time as exemplified by allergic rhinitis, arthritis, asthma, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke, and peptic ulcer disease. Dosing time influences the effectiveness and toxicity of many drugs. The pharmacodynamics of medications as well as pharmacokinetics influences chronopharmacological phenomena. To escape from host immunity in the tumor microenvironment, cancer cells have acquired several pathways. Immune checkpoint therapy targeting programmed death 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) interaction had been approved for the treatment of patients with several types of cancers. Circadian expression of PD-1 is identified on tumor associated macrophages (TAMs), which is rationale for selecting the most appropriate time of day for administration of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. The therapies for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are urgently needed because of a global health problem. The mechanism of the cardiac complications in mice with CKD had been related the GRP68 in circulating monocytes and serum accumulation of retinol. Development of a strategy to suppress retinol accumulation will be useful to prevent the cardiac complications of CKD. Therefore, we introduce an overview of the dosing time-dependent changes in therapeutic outcome and safety of drug for immune-related diseases.
This is an abridged edition of English version of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Atopic Dermatitis 2021. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a disease characterized by relapsing eczema with pruritus as a primary lesion. In Japan, from the perspective of evidence-based medicine, the current strategies for the treatment of AD consist of three primary measures: (i) use of topical corticosteroids, tacrolimus ointment, and delgocitinib ointment as the main treatment of the inflammation; (ii) topical application of emollients to treat the cutaneous barrier dysfunction; and (iii) avoidance of apparent exacerbating factors, psychological counseling, and advice about daily life. In the present revised guidelines, the description about three new drugs, namely, dupilumab, delgocitinib, and baricitinib, has been added. The guidelines present recommendations to review clinical research articles, evaluate the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of medical activities, and optimize medical activity-related patient outcomes with respect to several important points requiring decision-making in clinical practice.
Allergic conjunctival disease (ACD) is an inflammatory disease of the conjunctiva that is mainly caused by type I hypersensitivity response to allergens and accompanied by subjective symptoms and other findings induced by antigens. ACD is classified as allergic conjunctivitis, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. This article summarizes the third edition of the Japanese guidelines for allergic conjunctival diseases published in 2021 and outlines the diagnosis, pathogenesis, and treatment of ACD. Since the introduction of immunosuppressive eye drops, the treatment strategies for severe ACDs have significantly changed. To clarify the recommended standard treatment protocols for ACD, the advantages and disadvantages of these treatments were assessed using clinical questions, with a focus on the use of steroids and immunosuppressive drugs. This knowledge will assist healthcare providers and patients in taking an active role in medical decision making.
This article covers the salient and updated themes of the Japanese Pediatric Guidelines for the Treatment and Management of Asthma (JPGL) 2020 published by the Japanese Society of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In the 2020 guidelines, five new clinical questions (CQs) have been added to address the 12 CQs regarding the treatment of childhood asthma. “Infant and preschool asthma” is diagnosed when young children (<6 years of age) have three or more episodes of clear expiratory wheezing, which continue for more than 24 h, and symptom improvement can be observed after beta-2 agonist inhalation. In children without clear improvement, diagnostic therapeutic trial for the duration of 1 month with controller treatment can be used. Since long-term management is initiated, the treatment level is adjusted based on the current control status and the management of risk factors, with the provision for holistic care. This underscores the smooth transition of pediatric patients into adult services. There are several differences between the JPGL and the guidelines of other countries. Further evidence is obtained as the utility of the newly proposed management plans should be evaluated in the Japanese population.
Background: Quality of life (QoL) assessment is important in the management of severe asthma, and comorbidities and/or exacerbations may affect longitudinal QoL. However, there are few reports on the longitudinal assessment of QoL in patients with asthma over multiple years and its related factors. This study aimed to clarify the relationship of longitudinal changes in QoL with comorbidities and/or exacerbations during a prolonged observation period in patients with severe asthma.
Methods: A total of 105 subjects who participated in the Hokkaido-based Investigative Cohort Analysis for Refractory Asthma (Hi-CARAT) with a six-year follow-up were analyzed. QoL was assessed annually, using the Standardized Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire, and the subjects were divided into three groups: (1) persistently good QoL, (2) persistently poor QoL, and (3) fluctuating QoL. Assessed comorbidities comprised depression, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), a key symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
Results: Of 105 subjects with severe asthma, 53 (50%) were classified in the persistently good QoL group, 10 (10%) in the persistently poor QoL group, and 42 (40%) in the fluctuating QoL group. The persistently poor QoL group was associated with shorter time to hospitalization due to exacerbation and the presence of multiple comorbidities. In addition, the presence of EDS was an independent contributor to the fluctuating QoL group compared to the persistently good QoL group.
Conclusions: The presence of multiple comorbidities and hospitalization due to exacerbation contribute to longitudinal changes in QoL in patients with severe asthma.
Background: HDM SLIT is one of the disease-modifying treatment for allergic asthma, and has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials. Dupilumab, blocks IL-4 and IL-13 signaling, key drivers of type 2 inflammation, and is approved for patients with uncontrolled, moderate-to-severe asthma. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcomes after HDM SLIT initiation in asthma with rhinitis not optimally controlled with dupilumab in a real-world setting.
Methods: At baseline and 48 weeks after treatment, asthma control questionnaire (ACQ)-5, asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ) and rhinoconjunctivitis quality of life questionnaire (RQLQ) were assessed. Spirometry, type 2 inflammatory biomarkers and quantitative computed tomographic parameters of airway remodeling were also collected.
Results: Of 47 patients received HDM SLIT and 41 completed the study. Combined HDM SLIT and dupilumab improved ACQ-5 (p < 0.05), AQLQ (p < 0.05), RQLQ (p < 0.05), and increased lung function and reduced FeNO (p < 0.05) and airway percentage wall area, and wall thickness (each, p < 0.05). The change in ACQ-5 and AQLQ score correlated with both changes in FeNO and FEV1 percent predicted. Multiple regression analysis showed that the change in FEV1 percent predicted was independent factor for improvement of AQLQ (r2 = 0.510, p = 0.012). Based on ROC analysis for predicting SLIT responders, the baseline area under the curves in serum HDM specific-IgE, total IgE and FEV1 percent predicted were high (>0.8).
Conclusions: These results support the benefits of adding HDM SLIT to pharmacotherapy plus dupilumab in uncontrolled asthma with rhinitis.
Background: In two phase 3, global clinical trials (COUGH-1 and COUGH-2), the P2X3-receptor antagonist gefapixant significantly reduced objective 24-h cough frequency in participants with refractory or unexplained chronic cough (RCC or UCC) at a dosage of 45 mg twice daily (BID), with an acceptable safety profile. The primary objective of this phase 3, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study was to assess the safety and tolerability of gefapixant in Japanese participants with RCC or UCC (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03696108; JAPIC-CTI, 184154).
Methods: Participants aged ≥20 years with chronic cough lasting ≥4 months and a diagnosis of RCC or UCC despite treatment in accordance with Japanese Respiratory Society guidelines were randomized 1:1 to receive gefapixant 15 or 45 mg BID for 52 weeks. The primary objective was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of gefapixant, including adverse events (AEs) and discontinuations due to AEs. Cough-specific quality of life was assessed using the Leicester Cough Questionnaire as a secondary objective.
Results: Of 169 randomized and treated participants, 63% were female and mean age was 58 years. Adverse events were reported by 79 (94%) and 82 (96%) participants in the 15- and 45-mg BID groups, respectively. Most treatment-related AEs were taste related. Discontinuations due to AEs occurred in 6 (7%) and 17 (20%) participants receiving gefapixant 15 or 45 mg BID, respectively. There were no serious treatment-related AEs or deaths. Leicester Cough Questionnaire total scores improved from baseline through Week 52.
Conclusions: Gefapixant had an acceptable safety profile, with no serious treatment-related AEs in Japanese participants.
Background: Some patients with wheat allergy have been reported to show clinical cross-reactivity to barley. However, it is not clear whether the development of barley allergy in patients with wheat allergy is due to cross-antigenicity between wheat and barley. This study aimed to determine the clinical cross-reactivity and immunological cross-antigenicity of wheat and barley.
Methods: The results of barley oral food challenges (OFCs) were compared before and after oral immunotherapy (OIT) for wheat in nine patients with wheat allergy to estimate the clinical cross-reactivity of wheat and barley. Moreover, we performed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) inhibition and immunoblotting inhibition using serum from seven patients allergic to wheat and barley.
Results: Nine patients who had positive barley-OFC results performed before OIT for wheat were all negative on barley-OFC performed after OIT. In ELISA inhibition, preincubation of serum from patients allergic to wheat and barley with a high barley extract concentration inhibited binding of IgE to wheat extract by less than 10%. On the other hand, wheat and barley extracts equally inhibited binding to barley sIgE at high concentrations. In the immunoblotting inhibition test, the spots of wheat were inhibited but weakly by barley extracts, and most of the spots of barley were inhibited even by low concentrations of the wheat and barley extract.
Conclusions: We showed that barley allergy associated with wheat allergy is caused by cross-reactivity from wheat. The OIT for wheat is one of the promising options for barley allergy.
Background: The mechanism of allergic reactions to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines has not been clarified. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a potential antigen in the components of vaccines. However, there is little evidence that allergy after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination is related to PEG. Furthermore, the role of polysorbate (PS) as an antigen has also not been clarified. The objective of this study was to investigate whether PEG and PS allergies are reasonable causes of allergic symptoms after vaccination by detecting PEG-specific and PS-specific antibodies.
Methods: Fourteen patients who developed immediate allergic reactions to BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines and nineteen healthy controls who did not present allergic symptoms were recruited. Serum PEG-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) and PS-specific IgE and IgG were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Skin tests using PEG-2000 and PS-80 were applied to five patients and three controls.
Results: Serum levels of PEG-specific IgE and IgG in patients with immediate allergic reactions to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine were higher than those in the control group. Serum levels of PS-specific IgE in patients with allergy to the vaccine were higher than those in patients of the control group. Intradermal tests using PEG verified the results for PEG-specific IgE and IgG.
Conclusions: The results suggest that PEG is one of the antigens in the allergy to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Cross-reactivity between PEG and PS might be crucial for allergy to the vaccines. PEG-specific IgE and IgG may be useful in diagnosing allergy to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
Background: Airway epithelial cells (AECs) play a crucial role in the induction and development of allergic inflammation through the development and activation of immune cells, including Th2 cells and ILC2s. Recent studies have revealed that STAT3 expressed in epithelial cells protects against pathogens and maintains homeostasis in the intestine. However, the roles of STAT3 in airway epithelium are poorly understood. Therefore, we sought to elucidate the roles of airway epithelial STAT3 in allergic airway inflammation.
Methods: Allergic airway inflammation was induced by intratracheal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extract in doxycycline-induced AEC-specific STAT3-deficient (STAT3-cKO) mice and their genetic control (STAT3-WT) mice. Airway inflammation was evaluated by flow cytometric analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells and histological analysis of the lung. Purified airway epithelial cells were analyzed by quantitative PCR and RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq).
Results: HDM-induced airway inflammation was exacerbated in STAT3-cKO mice compared with STAT3-WT mice. RNA-seq analyses revealed that Scd1, coding stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1, was most significantly upregulated in HDM-treated STAT3-WT mice compared to HDM-treated STAT3-cKO mice. Notably, the administration of an SCD1 inhibitor exacerbated HDM-induced airway inflammation. AECs of HDM-treated STAT3-cKO mice and those of HDM-treated SCD1 inhibitor-injected mice shared 45 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Gene enrichment analysis of the DEGs revealed that the enriched ontology clusters included fatty acid biosynthetic process and regulation of lipid biosynthetic process, suggesting the involvement of the STAT3-SCD1-lipid metabolism axis in suppressing allergic inflammation.
Conclusions: STAT3 is crucial for suppressing HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation, possibly inducing SCD1 expression in AECs.
Background: Early food introduction induces tolerance, but epicutaneous exposure, especially via eczema lesions, promotes IgE sensitization. Aiming for safe and effective primary prevention of egg allergy, we examined several protease-digested egg-white (EW) products for three properties: 1) induction of oral tolerance that prevents IgE sensitization, 2) weak IgE binding that can prevent allergic reactions even in IgE-sensitized mice, and 3) minimal epicutaneous IgE sensitization even when in contact with inflamed skin.
Methods: Heated EW was digested with several proteases under optimal conditions. First, three-week-old BALB/c female mice were intragastrically administered EW or each protease-digested EW product, followed by intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) or ovomucoid (OVM) injection with alum. Serum OVA- and OVM-specific IgE titers were measured. Second, six-week-old mice were sensitized with OVA/OVM, and the rectal temperature was measured after intraperitoneal administration of EW or each protease-digested EW. Third, EW or each protease-digested EW product was applied to the tape-stripped skin for 3 days/week for 3 weeks. Serum OVA- and OVM-specific IgE titers were measured.
Results: Orally administered pepsin-digested EW product (PDEW) and Thermoase PC10F-digested EW product (TDEW) significantly suppressed OVA-/OVM-specific IgE production. Neither product elicited a body temperature decline (anaphylaxis) in OVA-/OVM-sensitized mice. Serum OVA-/OVM-specific IgE levels were significantly lower in mice epicutaneously exposed to PDEW or TDEW than in EW-exposed mice.
Conclusions: Two protease-digested EWs showed potential as optimal EW products for early introduction for primary prevention of egg allergy.