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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Dec;114(6):1362-8.

M cell targeting with Aleuria aurantia lectin as a novel approach for oral allergen immunotherapy.

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Department of Pathophysiology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.



The extent and quality of the immune response to orally applied allergens may critically depend on the precise site of uptake at the intestinal mucosa.


The aim of this study was to construct allergen vehicles optimized for oral allergen immunotherapy.


By using a murine model, we examined the immunomodulatory effect of birch pollen proteins entrapped in poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres, which were specifically targeted to enterocytes or to M cells, in an ongoing T h 2 response. BALB/c mice express different carbohydrates on these 2 cell types. To target the sialylic residues on murine enterocytes, we functionalized microspheres with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) and, to target alpha-L-fucose on M cells, with a lectin from Aleuria aurantia (AAL), the orange peel mushroom.


Both WGA and AAL functionalization enhanced binding to human Caco2 cells substantially, which express sialylic and, as carcinoma cells, also alpha-L-fucose residues. Different groups of BALB/c mice were first sensitized to birch pollen and subsequently fed with birch pollen-loaded functionalized (WGA microspheres, AAL microspheres) or nonfunctionalized, birch pollen extract-loaded particles. When mice were fed with AAL microspheres, birch pollen-specific IgG2a, but not IgG1 or IgE, increased significantly. As expected, in a 3 H-thymidin assay, their splenocytes proliferated specifically on birch pollen stimulation. Both targeting strategies, using WGA or AAL, induced IL-10 as well as IL-4 production. However, in AAL microsphere-treated mice, IFN-gamma synthesis was significantly increased, which may be responsible for the significant IgG2a production in this group.


Our data indicate that targeting M cells by using AAL-coated allergen vehicles may be a promising strategy for oral allergen immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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