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J Exp Med. 2005 Dec 5;202(11):1563-73. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Immunostimulatory oligonucleotides block allergic airway inflammation by inhibiting Th2 cell activation and IgE-mediated cytokine induction.

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  • 1Dynavax Technologies, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA.


A single treatment with a CpG-containing immunostimulatory DNA sequence (ISS) given before allergen challenge can inhibit T helper type 2 cell (Th2)-mediated airway responses in animal models of allergic asthma; however, the mechanism of this inhibition remains largely undefined. Here, we demonstrate that airway delivery of ISS before allergen challenge in Th2-primed mice acts in two distinct ways to prevent the allergic responses to this challenge. The first is to prevent induction of cytokines from allergen-specific Th2 cells, as demonstrated by the nearly complete inhibition of Th2 cytokine production, Th2-dependent functional responses, and gene induction patterns. ISS inhibits the Th2 response by rendering lung antigen-presenting cells (APCs) unable to effectively present antigen to Th2 cells, but not to Th1 cells. This loss of APC function correlates with a reduced expression of costimulatory molecules, including programmed cell death ligand (PD-L)1, PD-L2, CD40, CD80, CD86, and inducible T cell costimulator, and of major histocompatibility complex class II on CD11c(+ )APCs from the airways of ISS-treated mice. The second important action of ISS is inhibition of immunoglobulin E-dependent release of Th2 cytokines, especially interleukin 4, from basophils and/or mast cells in the airways of Th2-primed mice. Thus, inhibition by ISS of allergic responses can be explained by two novel mechanisms that culminate in the inhibition of the principal sources of type 2 cytokines in the airways.

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