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J Immunol. 2001 Mar 1;166(5):3612-21.

Antigen-independent suppression of the allergic immune response to bee venom phospholipase A(2) by DNA vaccination in CBA/J mice.

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  • 1Division of Immunology and Allergy, R & D Laboratory, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) is one of the major honey bee venom allergens for humans. To assess the long-term prevention of allergic reactions by DNA vaccination, a PLA(2)-CBA/J mouse model was employed using empty or PLA(2) sequence-carrying DNA plasmids. Early skin application of either DNA construct before (prophylactic approach) or after (therapeutic approach) sensitization with PLA(2)/alum led to reduced PLA(2)-specific IgE and IgG1 titers at 7 mo, with concomitant rise in IgG2a and IgG3. Splenocytes recovered at 5-6 mo after the last DNA administration exhibited a sustained IFN-gamma and IL-10 secretion and reduced IL-4 production. Recall challenge with PLA(2) boosted IFN-gamma and IL-10 secretion, suggesting the reactivation of quiescent memory Th1 lymphocytes. Mice from the prophylactic groups were fully protected against anaphylaxis, whereas 65% of the animals recovered in the therapeutic groups. Th1-polarized immune responses were also active in mice vaccinated with an empty plasmid 32 wk before sensitization with another Ag (OVA). This is the first demonstration that the Ag-coding sequence in DNA vaccine is not necessary to promote immune modulation in naive and sensitized animals for a prolonged period, and has relevance for the understanding of the innate and induced mechanisms underlying gene immunotherapy in long-term treatment of allergy.

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