IgE and mast cells play a pivotal role in various allergic diseases, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and urticaria. Treatment with omalizumab, a monoclonal anti-IgE antibody, has significantly improved control of these allergic diseases and introduced a new era for the management of severe allergic conditions. About 10 years of experience with omalizumab treatment for severe allergic asthma confirmed its effectiveness and safety, reducing symptoms, frequency of reliever use, and severe exacerbations in patients with intractable conditions. Omalizumab is particularly useful in childhood asthma, where atopic conditions often determine clinical courses of asthma.
Recently, omalizumab is approved for the treatment of chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) with the fixed dose of 300 mg. Although the mechanisms underlying the actions of omalizumab in CSU are not fully clarified, nearly 90% of patients with CSU showed a complete or a partial response to omalizumab treatment. Furthermore, omalizumab is just approved for the treatment of severe Japanese cedar pollinosis (JC) based on the successful results of an add-on study of omalizumab for inadequately controlled severe pollinosis despite antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids. For proper use of omalizumab to treat severe JC, co-administration of antihistamines is necessary, while patients should meet the criteria including strong sensitization to Japanese cedar pollen (≥class 3) and poor control under standard treatment.
In the management of severe allergic diseases using omalizumab, issues including cost and concerns about relapse after its discontinuation should be overcome. At the same time, possibilities for application to other intractable allergic diseases should be considered.
IL-5 is the most potent activator of eosinophils and is produced by Th2 cells and ILC2s. A role for IL-5 in eosinophil extracellular trap cell death, i.e., a proinflammatory cell death, has also been reported. Mepolizumab and benralizumab are humanized mAbs that target IL-5 and the IL-5 receptor α, respectively, and their therapeutic efficacy for severe asthma has been established. Although consistent differences in the efficacies of those drugs have not been proven, benralizumab extensively depleted eosinophils via Ab-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Blood eosinophil count, but not FeNO or IgE, is the best-established predictive biomarker of the efficacy of anti-IL-5 treatment. Regarding the choice of biologics, the balance between blood eosinophil count and FeNO, indication of comorbidities, longitudinal safety, and interval of injection should be considered. Mepolizumab was also effective in maintaining the remission of refractory eosinophilic granulomatous polyangiitis. Moreover, mepolizumab decreased the proportion of patients who required surgery and lowered the nasal polyp score in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps; a further extensive trial is currently under way. In a phase II benralizumab study performed in Japan, no significant effect on nasal polyp score at week 12 was observed, suggesting a requirement for longer treatment. In this review, the role of IL-5 in eosinophil biology and the current status of anti-IL-5 therapy are discussed. The longitudinal safety of anti-IL-5 therapy has been increasingly established, and this strategy will be continuously indicated for eosinophilic diseases as a specific treatment for eosinophilic inflammation.
Interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, signature type 2 cytokines, exert their actions by binding to two types of receptors sharing the IL-4R α chain (IL-4Rα). Since IL-4 and IL-13 play important and redundant roles in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases, blocking both the IL-4 and IL-13 signals would be a powerful and effective strategy for treating allergic diseases. Dupilumab (Dupixent®) is a fully human monoclonal antibody recognizing IL-4Rα and blocking both the IL-4 and IL-13 signals. Dupilumab was first prescribed for atopic dermatitis (AD) patients and has been widely approved for adult patients with moderate to severe AD since 2018. Dupilumab has since been used for asthma, receiving approval for uncontrolled asthma in 2019. A phase 3 study using dupilumab for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) has been just completed, with positive results. Several clinical trials of dupilumab for other diseases in which type 2 inflammation is dominant are now underway. It is hoped that dupilumab will open the door to a new era for treating allergic patients with AD, asthma, and CRSwNP, and for more patients with type 2 inflammations.
TSLP is an epithelial cell-derived cytokine synthesized in response to various stimuli, including protease allergens and microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. Biological functions of TSLP require heterodimer formation between the TSLP receptor (TSLPR) and IL-7 receptor-α, which polarize dendritic cells to induce type 2 inflammation and directly expand and/or activate Th2 cells, group 2 innate lymphoid cells, basophils, and other immune cells. TSLP is thus considered a master regulator of type 2 immune responses at the barrier surfaces of skin and the respiratory/gastrointestinal tract. Indeed, genetic, experimental, and clinical evidence suggests that the TSLP-TSLPR pathway is associated with the pathogenesis of allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma. Tezepelumab (AMG-157/MEDI9929) is a human anti-TSLP antibody that prevents TSLP-TSLPR interactions. A phase 2 trial for moderate to severe AD showed that a greater but not statistically significant percentage of tezepelumab-treated patients showed clinical improvements compared to the placebo group. A phase 2 trial for uncontrolled, severe asthma showed significant decreases in asthma exacerbation rate and improved pulmonary function and asthma control for tezepelumab-treated patients. Levels of biomarkers of type 2 inflammation, such as blood/sputum eosinophil counts and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide decreased, however, clinical efficacy was observed irrespective of the baseline levels of these biomarkers. A blockade of the TSLP-TSLPR pathway likely will exert significant clinical effects on AD, asthma, and other allergic diseases. The efficacy of anti-TSLP antibodies compared to other biologics needs to be further examined.
This review highlights recent advances in atopic dermatitis (AD) and food allergy (FA), particularly on molecular mechanisms and disease endotypes, recent developments in global strategies for the management of patients, pipeline for future treatments, primary and secondary prevention and psychosocial aspects. During the recent years, there has been major advances in personalized/precision medicine linked to better understanding of disease pathophysiology and precision treatment options of AD. A greater understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of AD through substantial progress in epidemiology, genetics, skin immunology and psychological aspects resulted in advancements in the precision management of AD. However, the implementation of precision medicine in the management of AD still requires the validation of reliable biomarkers, which will provide more tailored management, starting from prevention strategies towards targeted therapies for more severe diseases. Cutaneous exposure to food via defective barriers is an important route of sensitization to food allergens. Studies on the role of the skin barrier genes demonstrated their association with the development of IgE-mediated FA, and suggest novel prevention and treatment strategies for type 2 diseases in general because of their link to barrier defects not only in AD and FA, but also in asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, allergic rhinitis and inflammatory bowel disease. The development of more accurate diagnostic tools, biomarkers for early prediction, and innovative solutions require a better understanding of molecular mechanisms and the pathophysiology of FA. Based on these developments, this review provides an overview of novel developments and advances in AD and FA, which are reported particularly during the last two years.
Background: Although antibody deficiency (AD) is a well-known cause of recurrent respiratory infections, there are few data on its impact in adults with asthma. The objective of the present study was to assess outcomes in adults with severe asthma and AD after treatment with either azithromycin or subcutaneous immunoglobulins (SCIg).
Methods: We performed a 5-year, prospective, observational, two-centre study of adults with severe asthma and AD in France. Bronchiectasis was ruled out by high-resolution computed tomography. Patients were treated for one year with either azithromycin (250 mg every other day) or SCIg (0.4-0.6 g/kg/months, weekly). All patients were evaluated for exacerbations, asthma control and lung function at baseline and then one year after treatment initiation.
Results: Thirty-nine patients with severe asthma were included in the study: 14 had been treated with azithromycin and 25 had been treated with SCIg. Before the initiation of treatment for AD, all patients had an Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ-7) score > 1.5 (mean ± SD: 2.71 ± 0.53) despite treatment at GINA step 4 or 5, and had a high exacerbation rate requiring oral corticosteroids and/or rescue antibiotics (∼7.2 ± 2.1/patient/year). One year after treatment initiation, we observed a significantly higher FEV1 (mean: 0.18 ± 0.22 L) and ACQ-7 score (1.26 ± 0.68), and a significantly lower exacerbation rate (1.63 ± 1.24/patient/year).
Conclusions: Treatment of AD dramatically improved asthma outcomes - suggesting that adults with severe asthma and recurrent respiratory infections should be screened and (if appropriate) treated for AD.
Background: Cough variant asthma (CVA) is recognized as a precursor of bronchial asthma (BA). However, the cough response to bronchoconstriction differs between these similar diseases. Repeated bronchoconstriction and the resulting imbalance of endogenous lipid mediators may impact the cough response.
Methods: We investigated the influence of repeated bronchoconstriction on the cough response to bronchoconstriction using naïve guinea pigs. Bronchoconstriction was induced for 3 consecutive days and changes in the cough response and lipid mediators, such as PGE2, PGI2, and cysteinyl-LTs (Cys-LTs), in BAL fluid (BALF) were assessed. We investigated the effect of endogenous PGI2 on the cough response by employing a PGI2 receptor antagonist. In order to investigate the cough response over a longer period, we re-evaluated the cough response 2 weeks after repeated bronchoconstriction.
Results: The number of coughs induced by bronchoconstriction were significantly decreased by repeated bronchoconstriction. The levels of PGE2, PGI2, and Cys-LTs, and the ratio of PGI2/PGE2 were significantly increased, following repeated bronchoconstriction. This decrease in the cough response was suppressed by pretreatment with a PGI2 receptor antagonist. Two weeks after repeated bronchoconstriction, the cough response returned to the same level as before repeated bronchoconstriction along with a concomitant return of lipid mediators, such as PGE2, PGI2, and Cys-LTs and the ratio of PGI2/PGE2.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that repeated bronchoconstriction and the resulting imbalance of endogenous lipid mediators contribute to the difference in cough responses to bronchoconstriction in CVA and BA.
Background: Eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis (ECRS) is a subtype of chronic rhinosinusitis associated with asthma. CD69 is an important marker of activation for eosinophils. But, whether a correlation exist between the CD69 expression on eosinophils and clinical findings is unclear.
Methods: We performed quantitative PCR and/or flow cytometry using tissue and purified eosinophils from the blood and nasal polyps of 12 patients with ECRS and from 8 patients without ECRS (controls). We assessed clinical findings including nasal polyp (NP) scores, sinus CT findings, and pulmonary function test results, and examined their possible association with the CD69 expression. We also performed CD69 cross-linking experiments in mouse eosinophils to investigate the functional role of CD69.
Results: Levels of cytokine mRNAs (IL-4, -5, -10, and -13) were significantly higher in purified NP eosinophils and tissues from patients with ECRS than the levels of those in controls. The expressions of major basic protein (MBP), eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP), eosinophilic-derived neurotoxin (EDN), eosinophil peroxidase (EPX) in cytotoxic granules, and CD69 mRNA were significantly higher in purified eosinophils from NPs than in those from blood. We also found a correlation between expression of CD69 and clinical findings. Moreover, we found EPX release from mouse eosinophils following CD69 cross-linking.
Conclusions: These data suggest that increased CD69 expression by eosinophils is not only a biomarker for nasal obstruction and pulmonary dysfunction, but also a potential therapeutic target for patients with ECRS and asthma.
Background: Cor a 9 and Cor a 14 are effective markers for predicting hazelnut allergy. However, there have been no reports on the component-resolved diagnostics (CRD) of hazelnut allergy using an oral food challenge (OFC) for diagnosis in Asia. We hypothesized that CRD would improve the accuracy of diagnosing hazelnut allergies in Japanese children.
Methods: We recruited 91 subjects (median age: 7.3 years) who were sensitized to hazelnuts and had performed a hazelnut OFC at the National Hospital Organization Sagamihara National Hospital between 2006 and 2017. All subjects were classified as allergic or asymptomatic to 3 g of hazelnuts. The sIgE levels (hazelnut/Cor a 1/Cor a 8/Cor a 9/Cor a 14/alder pollen) were measured using ImmunoCAP. We aimed to determine the predictive factors of hazelnut allergy.
Results: Nine subjects (10%) were allergic to ≤3 g of hazelnuts. Levels of sIgE for Cor a 9 in hazelnut-allergic subjects were significantly higher than those in asymptomatic subjects (4.47 vs. 0.76 kUA/L, p = 0.039). Levels of sIgE to alder pollen and Cor a 1 in hazelnut-allergic subjects were significantly lower than those in asymptomatic subjects (<0.10 vs 13.0 kUA/L, p = 0.004; <0.10 vs 5.03 kUA/L, p = 0.025). The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for hazelnut/alder/Cor a 1/Cor a 9 was 0.55/0.78/0.72/0.71, respectively, with p = 0.651/0.006/0.029/0.040, respectively.
Conclusions: The findings of a high sIgE level for Cor a 9 and a low sIgE level for Cor a 1 can improve the diagnostic accuracy to better identify Japanese children sensitized to hazelnuts.
Background: Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is an immediate allergy caused by a cross-reaction of highly homologous common antigens (pan-allergens) contained in fruits/vegetables and pollen.
Methods: A questionnaire was provided to 6824 outpatient visitors and serum levels of specific IgEs against crude antigens and pan-allergen components were measured to study the relationship between the prevalence of OAS and pollinosis in the Fukui Prefecture where there is almost no dispersal of birch pollen.
Results: The prevalence of OAS was 10.8%. The rate of pollinosis complication in the OAS group was 67.4%, and OAS was observed in 16.8% of pollinosis patients. Causative foods in order of frequency were melon, pineapple, kiwi fruit, peach, and apple. A significantly higher number of patients from the OAS group were positive for birch, alder, and timothy grass-specific IgE. The rate of positivity for anti-component IgE corresponding to pollen in OAS group was also significantly higher. Of 34 patients with OAS caused by eating apples, 28 (82.4%) were positive for Mal d1-specific IgE. Of the 52 patients with peach-induced OAS, 41 (78.8%) were positive for Pur p1-specific IgE. The concordance rates between crude antigen-specific IgE and anti-PR-10 component-specific IgE were 87.1% and 93.3% for apple and peach respectively.
Conclusions: In regions where birch pollen is not dispersed, OAS patients have a significant association with the onset of Bet v1-associated allergy. Anti-PR-10 component IgE was useful in diagnosing OAS, and crude antigen-specific IgE was also associated with apple and peach allergies.
Background: Fish roe allergy is a common health problem in countries where sea food is a major part of the diet, such as Japan. β′-component (β′-c) in fish roe has been identified as a major antigen for patients who show hypersensitivity to various fish roes. However, little is known about causative antigens for patients reactive to fish roe of specific species.
Methods: Serum and basophils were obtained from patients who had reactivity to roes of Gadus chalcogrammus (GC) and/or other fish species. GC roe specific antigens were analyzed by immunoblotting, histamine release assay (HRA) and mass spectrometry. Recombinant-fragments of vitellogenin (Vg) were obtained by the Escherichia coli expression system.
Results: Serum IgE of a patient with specific reactions to GC roe bound to 15, 28, 40 and 70 kDa-proteins in GC roe extract. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that proteins in these bands contained fragments corresponding to Vg. Immunoblotting of Vg immunoprecipitated by rabbit anti-Vg antiserum from the extract revealed 15, 28 and 54 kDa fragments bound by the patient's IgE. These bindings were inhibited by the pretreatment of recombinant phosvitin (rPv) and β′-c (rβ′-c). Fractions obtained by native gel electrophoresis containing 15, 28 and 54 kDa proteins, but not the other fractions, induced significant histamine release from the patient's basophils. Sera of the other patients with GC roe specific-IgE showed IgE binding to rPv and/or rβ′-c.
Conclusions: The 15, 28 and 54 kDa-fragments of Vg which include structures of Pv and β′-c, could be antigens for GC roe specific type-I-hypersensitivity.
Background: Many patients with atopic dermatitis and cholinergic urticaria display an immediate-type allergy to autologous sweat. Although the histamine release test (HRT) using semi-purified sweat antigen (QR) was available for the detection of immediate sweat allergy, the existence of HRT low responders could not be disregarded. Furthermore, it has not been established whether the results of the HRT are consistent with the autologous sweat skin test (ASwST). We aimed to compare the HRT and basophil activation test (BAT) for the diagnosis of immediate sweat allergy.
Methods: The HRT and BAT were performed on 47 subjects (35 ASwST positive, 12 negative) whose symptoms had worsened on sweating. For the BAT, blood was incubated with QR or crude sweat and CD203c upregulation was assessed. A commercial HRT was performed and histamine release induced by QR was quantified.
Results: When excluding non-responders for anti-IgE antibody, the BAT using QR and the HRT had a sensitivity of 100% and 44% and specificity of 75% and 100%, respectively. The BAT and HRT had a positive predictive value of 91.3% and 100% and negative predictive value of 100% and 30%, respectively. The BAT detected 0% non-responders, whereas the HRT identified 22.5%. When using crude sweat for the BAT, the false-positives observed when using QR were not detected.
Conclusions: The BAT using QR displayed a higher sensitivity and negative predictive value and a lower number of non-responders compared with the HRT. Furthermore, the BAT using crude sweat can also be an alternative tool for the ASwST.
Background: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a genetic disease characterized by recurrent swelling episodes affecting the skin, gastrointestinal mucosa, and upper respiratory tract.
Methods: A phase 3, single-arm, open-label study was performed to evaluate a selective bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist, icatibant, for the treatment of acute attacks in Japanese patients with HAE Type I or II. After the onset of an acute attack, icatibant 30 mg was administered by the patient or a healthcare professional via subcutaneous injection in the abdomen.
Results: Eight patients who had an attack affecting the skin (n = 4), abdomen (n = 3), or larynx (n = 1) were treated with icatibant (3 of the injections were self-administered). The median time to onset of symptom relief was 1.75 h (95% confidence interval, 1.00-2.50), and all patients had symptom relief within 5 h after administration. The time to maximum plasma concentration of icatibant was 1.79 h, and the maximum plasma concentration was 405 ng/ml. Seven patients experienced an injection site reaction, and 3 patients had adverse events (2 patients had a worsening or repeat HAE attack 29.0 and 18.3 h after icatibant administration, respectively, and 1 had headache).
Conclusions: Although the number of patients is small, the efficacy and tolerability of icatibant for acute attacks were demonstrated in Japanese patients with HAE, regardless of self-administration or administration by healthcare professional.
Background: The Japanese guidelines for the treatment of alopecia areata list topical immunotherapies as a drug therapy for this condition. However, there is insufficient evidence of its efficacy to support this recommendation. Thus, we sought to clarify the effect of topical immunotherapy on the progression and severity of alopecia areata in Japanese patients.
Methods: To evaluate the effect of topical immunotherapy with squaric acid dibutylester (SADBE) in alopecia areata patients, we performed a retrospective cohort study on 49 alopecia patients who had received topical immunotherapy with SADBE. Patients were evaluated by the change in alopecia severity at 6 and 12 months after the initiation of topical immunotherapy. The improvement rate was calculated by determination of the complete and partial responses rate to treatment with topical immunotherapy by application of SADBE.
Results: The improvement rate in all alopecia patients treated with SADBE topical immunotherapy was 57.8% (complete response; 11.1% and partial response; 46.7%).
Conclusions: Topical immunotherapy with SADBE is an effective treatment for alopecia areata. Therefore, the current treatment recommendations for alopecia areata with topical immunotherapies are appropriate.