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Am J Pathol. 2005 Dec;167(6):1621-30.

Oral and nasal sensitization promote distinct immune responses and lung reactivity in a mouse model of peanut allergy.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


Despite structural and functional differences between the initial sites of contact with allergens in the gastrointestinal and nasal tracts, few animal models have examined the influence of the mucosal routes of sensitization on host reactivity to food or environmental antigens. We compared the oral and nasal routes of peanut sensitization for the development of a mouse model of allergy. Mice were sensitized by administration of peanut proteins in the presence of cholera toxin as adjuvant. Antibody and cytokine responses were characterized, as well as airway reactivity to nasal challenge with peanut or unrelated antigens. Oral sensitization promoted higher levels of IgE, but lower IgG responses, than nasal sensitization. Both orally and nasally sensitized mice experienced airway hyperreactivity on nasal peanut challenge. The peanut challenge also induced lung eosinophilia and type 2 helper T-cell-type cytokines in orally sensitized mice. In contrast, peanut challenge in nasally sensitized mice promoted neutrophilia and higher levels of lung MAC-1(+) I-A(b low) cells and inflammatory cytokines. In addition, nasal but not oral, sensitization promoted lung inflammatory responses to unrelated antigens. In summary, both oral and nasal peanut sensitization prime mice for airway hyperreactivity, but the initial mucosal route of sensitization influences the nature of lung inflammatory responses to peanut and unrelated allergens.

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