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Nat Med. 1999 Apr;5(4):387-91.

Oral gene delivery with chitosan--DNA nanoparticles generates immunologic protection in a murine model of peanut allergy.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Food allergy is a common and often fatal disease with no effective treatment. We describe here a new immunoprophylactic strategy using oral allergen-gene immunization to modulate peanut antigen-induced murine anaphylactic responses. Oral administration of DNA nanoparticles synthesized by complexing plasmid DNA with chitosan, a natural biocompatible polysaccharide, resulted in transduced gene expression in the intestinal epithelium. Mice receiving nanoparticles containing a dominant peanut allergen gene (pCMVArah2) produced secretory IgA and serum IgG2a. Compared with non-immunized mice or mice treated with 'naked' DNA, mice immunized with nanoparticles showed a substantial reduction in allergen-induced anaphylaxis associated with reduced levels of IgE, plasma histamine and vascular leakage. These results demonstrate that oral allergen-gene immunization with chitosan-DNA nanoparticles is effective in modulating murine anaphylactic responses, and indicate its prophylactic utility in treating food allergy.

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