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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Sep;120(3):688-95. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Combination treatment with omalizumab and rush immunotherapy for ragweed-induced allergic rhinitis: Inhibition of IgE-facilitated allergen binding.

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  • 1Upper Respiratory Medicine, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The combination of anti-IgE (omalizumab) therapy with ragweed injection immunotherapy for seasonal allergic rhinitis results in a significant reduction in systemic side effects and enhanced efficacy compared with immunotherapy alone. One proposed mechanism of immunotherapy is to induce regulatory antibodies that inhibit facilitated antigen presentation.

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to determine whether the combination protocol has a cumulative effect on inhibition of facilitated antigen presentation both during and after discontinuation of treatment.

METHODS:

Ragweed allergen immunotherapy with and without omalizumab therapy was tested in a 4-arm, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Flow cytometry was used to detect serum inhibitory activity for IgE-facilitated CD23-dependent allergen binding to B cells as a surrogate marker for facilitated antigen presentation. Serum ragweed-specific IgG4 was measured by means of ELISA.

RESULTS:

Immunotherapy alone resulted in partial inhibition of allergen-IgE binding after 5 to 19 weeks of treatment compared with baseline (P < .01). Complete inhibition of allergen-specific IgE binding was observed in both treatment groups receiving omalizumab (P < .001). Allergen-specific IgG4 levels were only increased after immunotherapy (P < .05), both in the presence and absence of anti-IgE treatment. Combined treatment resulted in the induction of long-lasting inhibitory antibody function for up to 42 weeks compared with either treatment alone.

CONCLUSION:

Ragweed immunotherapy induced serum regulatory antibodies that partially blocked binding of allergen-IgE complexes to B cells. Additional treatment with anti-IgE, by directly blocking IgE binding to CD23, completely inhibited allergen-IgE binding.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

The combination of ragweed immunotherapy and anti-IgE resulted in prolonged inhibition of allergen-IgE binding compared with either treatment alone, events that might contribute to enhanced efficacy.

PMID:
17631952
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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