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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1999 Oct;120(2):146-57.

Reactivity of T cells with grass pollen allergen extract and allergoid.

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Allergopharma, Joachim Ganzer KG, Reinbek, Germany.



Successful allergen-specific immunotherapy is achieved with progressively increasing doses of allergen or allergoid. In order to gain further insight into the mechanism of action of allergoids several in vitro investigations were conducted.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from grass pollen allergic and nonallergic subjects were stimulated with either grass pollen extract or allergoid and the proliferation and cytokine production (IL-5, IFN-gamma) were measured. Similar investigations were performed with Phl p 5-specific T cell lines (TCL) and clones (TCC). Dendritic cells and PBMC were compared in terms of their relative efficacies as antigen-presenting cells.


Both allergen and allergoid induced proliferation and Th2 and Th1 cytokine synthesis by PBMC of allergic subjects, whereas PBMC of nonallergic subjects did not produce IL-5. The maximum level of IL-5 was obtained with a lower concentration than was necessary for maximal IFN-gamma production. Higher stimulation doses of allergen and allergoid shifted the cytokine profiles towards a Th1 phenotype. TCL and TCC clearly showed reactivity with both allergen and allergoid when using autologous PBMC for antigen presentation, but compared with the native allergen the reactivity of the allergoid was reduced with most of the TCC. Using dendritic cells for antigen presentation a pronounced increase of stimulation of the TCC especially for the allergoids becomes obvious.


In common with grass pollen allergen the corresponding allergoids possess a strong allergen-specific T cell-stimulating capacity. However, the degree of T cell stimulation by the allergoid seems to be dependent on the type of the antigen-presenting cell. Both, allergen and allergoid, can modulate T cell responses in a dose-dependent manner.

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