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J Immunol. 2001 Jan 15;166(2):959-65.

Vaccination with allergen-IL-18 fusion DNA protects against, and reverses established, airway hyperreactivity in a murine asthma model.

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  • 1Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, and the Division of Immunology and Transplantation Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Vaccination with naked DNA encoding a specific allergen has been shown previously to prevent, but not reverse, the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). To enhance the effectiveness of DNA vaccine therapies and make possible the treatment of established AHR, we developed a DNA vaccination plasmid containing OVA cDNA fused to IL-18 cDNA. Vaccination of naive mice either with this fusion DNA construct or with an OVA cDNA-containing plasmid protected the mice from the subsequent induction of AHR. Protection from AHR correlated with increased IFN-gamma production and reduced OVA-specific IgE production. The protection appeared to be mediated by IFN-gamma and CD8(+) cells because treatment of mice with neutralizing anti-IFN-gamma mAb or with depleting anti-CD8 mAb abolished the protective effect. Moreover, vaccination of mice with preexisting AHR with the OVA-IL-18 fusion DNA, but not with the OVA cDNA plasmid, reversed established AHR, reduced allergen-specific IL-4, and increased allergen-specific IFN-gamma production. Thus, combining IL-18 cDNA with OVA cDNA resulted in a vaccine construct that protected against the development of AHR, and that was unique among cDNA constructs in its capacity to reverse established AHR.

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