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FASEB J. 2001 Sep;15(11):2042-4. Epub 2001 Jul 24.

Nonanaphylactic synthetic peptides derived from B cell epitopes of the major grass pollen allergen, Phl p 1, for allergy vaccination.

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Department of Pathophysiology, Vienna General Hospital, AKH, University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Worldwide more than 200 million individuals are allergic to group 1 grass pollen allergens. We have used the major timothy grass pollen allergen Phl p 1, which cross-reacts with most grass-, corn-, and monocot-derived group 1 allergens to develop a generally applicable strategy for the production of hypoallergenic allergy vaccines. On the basis of the experimentally determined B cell epitopes of Phl p 1, we have synthesized five synthetic peptides. These peptides are derived from the major Phl p 1 IgE epitopes and were between 28-32 amino acids long. We demonstrate by nuclear magnetic resonance that the peptides exhibit no secondary and tertiary structure and accordingly failed to bind IgE antibodies from grass pollen allergic patients. The five peptides, as well as an equimolar mixture thereof, lacked allergenic activity as demonstrated by basophil histamine release and skin test experiments in grass pollen allergic patients. When used as immunogens in mice and rabbits, the peptides induced protective IgG antibodies, which recognized the complete Phl p 1 wild-type allergen and group 1 allergens from other grass species. Moreover, peptide-induced antibodies inhibited the binding of grass pollen allergic patients IgE antibodies to the wild-type allergen. We thus demonstrate that synthetic hypoallergenic peptides derived from B cell epitopes of major allergens represent safe vaccine candidates for the treatment of IgE- mediated allergies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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