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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Jun;113(6):1204-10.

Allergen immunotherapy induces a suppressive memory response mediated by IL-10 in a mouse asthma model.

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Department of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Sorbonnelaan 16, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Human studies have demonstrated that allergen immunotherapy induces memory suppressive responses and IL-10 production by allergen-specific T cells. Previously, we established a mouse model in which allergen immunotherapy was effective in the suppression of allergen-induced asthma manifestations.


In this study, we examined whether immunotherapy induces a long-lasting effect and investigated the role of IL-10 in successful immunotherapy.


Ovalbumin-sensitized BALB/c mice were treated with 3 injections of ovalbumin (1 mg, subcutaneous) on alternate days. After a short interval (1 week) and after a long interval (5 weeks), mice were challenged by ovalbumin inhalation, and subsequently, airway reactivity, airway eosinophilia, ovalbumin-specific IgE, and T(H)2 cytokine profile were measured. Flow cytometry and blocking of IL-10 receptors in vivo were used to gain insight in the role of IL-10 in the beneficial effects of allergen immunotherapy.


After a long interval between ovalbumin immunotherapy and ovalbumin challenge, the development of airway eosinophilia and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine were as strongly suppressed as after a short interval. These suppressive effects coincided with significantly reduced serum ovalbumin-specific IgE levels and T(H)2 cytokine production. On immunotherapy, the IL-5:IL-10 ratio in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid shifted toward IL-10. In ovalbumin-restimulated lung cell and thoracic lymph node cultures from these mice, IL-5 levels dramatically decreased, whereas the percentage of IL-10(+)CD4(+) T cells was not affected. Finally, in mice treated with mAb against IL-10 receptors, the beneficial effects of immunotherapy were largely abrogated.


These data demonstrate that allergen immunotherapy induces a memory suppressive effect in which IL-10 is essential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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