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Food Chem Toxicol. 1997 Dec;35(12):1209-18.

Characteristics of antibody responses induced in mice by protein allergens.

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  • 1Zeneca Central Toxicology Laboratory, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK.


Whereas many foreign proteins are immunogenic, only a proportion is also allergenic, having the capacity to induce the quality of immune response necessary to support the production of IgE antibody. We have demonstrated previously that intraperitoneal administration to mice of proteins such as ovalbumin (OVA) or the industrial enzyme A. oryzae lipase, which possess significant allergenic potential, stimulates the production of both IgG and IgE antibody. Identical exposure to bovine serum albumin (BSA), a protein with limited potential to cause immediate respiratory or gastrointestinal hypersensitivity reactions, induced IgG responses only. In the current investigations, the quality of immune responses induced following exposure to these proteins via mucosal tissue (intranasal) has been compared with those provoked following administration via a non-mucosal (intraperitoneal) route of exposure. Intranasal or intraperitoneal administration of BSA, OVA or A. oryzae lipase elicited in each case vigorous IgG and IgG1 antibody responses. For all three proteins, at every concentration tested, and via both routes of exposure, IgG1 antibody titres paralleled closely IgG titres. However, the three materials displayed a differential potential to provoke IgE responses and this correlated with their known allergenic potential in humans. Thus, OVA and A. oryzae lipase stimulated strong IgE antibody responses, whereas BSA provoked low titre IgE only at the highest concentration tested (5% administered intraperitoneally). The quality of induced responses was not affected by the route of exposure. It would appear, therefore, that the stimulation of IgG and IgG1 antibody responses is a reflection of protein immunogenicity whereas protein allergenicity is associated with the induction of strong IgE responses.

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