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Immunobiology. 2002 Oct;206(4):408-23.

Preventive and therapeutic effects of oral tolerance in a murine model of asthma.

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Laboratory of Immunology, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Korea.


Allergic asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways, and Th2 cells secreting IL-4 and IL-5 play a pivotal role in its pathogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that oral tolerance can be induced and maintained more profoundly in a Th2-related immune response, and that an ongoing immune response can be suppressed by the oral administration of antigen combined with an appropriate feeding regimen. In the present study, we examined the preventive and therapeutic effects of the oral administration of allergen on a Th2-mediated immune disorder using a murine model of asthma. Our results show that the development of asthma can be blocked completely by orally administering allergen. Airway hyperreactivity, allergen-specific IgE production, Th2-derived cytokines, allergen-induced T cell proliferation and the infiltration of inflammatory effector cells into the lung were prevented by such oral administration. To assess the therapeutic effects of oral administration on the progression of asthma, we tested the effects of oral tolerance in an established asthma model, and found that a multiple high dose-feeding regimen was effective at suppressing the progression of mild asthma. In the high dose-feeding group, the number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was reduced and airway reactivity also decreased. However, this was insufficient to reduce airway reactivity and eosinophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in cases of severe asthma. These results demonstrate that allergic asthma may be ameliorated by feeding allergen; there is hope that these results will provide a new immunotherapeutic strategy for allergic asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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