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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Apr;100(4):343-50. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60597-2.

Effect of sublingual immunotherapy with grass monomeric allergoid on allergen-specific T-cell proliferation and interleukin 10 production.

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Department of Biotechnology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.



Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is safe and efficacious in the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis. Although favorable clinical effects have been observed with controlled trials as early as a few months since the beginning of treatment, few biological changes induced by SLIT have been demonstrated.


To investigate in grass-allergic patients the effect of a 2-month SLIT regimen, administered with a simplified protocol without up-dosing, on proliferation and production of cytokines characteristic of the regulatory T-cell phenotype (interleukin 10 [IL-10] and transforming growth factor beta [TGF-beta]) by allergen-specific T cells.


Patients were recruited to the study in January 2006. SLIT was performed by self-administration and was continued for 60 days from February to April 2006. Eleven grass pollen-allergic patients with seasonal rhinitis were treated daily before the pollen season for 2 months with a modified allergen (monomeric allergoid) derived from a 3-grass pollen extract. Allergen-specific proliferation and production of IL-10 and TGF-beta were measured on peripheral blood mononuclear cells at baseline and treatment end. Tetanus toxoid served as the control antigen.


After SLIT, allergen-specific (P = .002) but not tetanus toxoid-specific proliferation decreased, whereas IL-10 transcription increased (P < .001). TGB-beta transcription was also increased after treatment, although not statistically significantly (P = .06). Changes in proliferation to allergen and in IL-10 transcription were correlated (r = -0.82, P = .003).


A short-term course of SLIT with modified allergen in grass-allergic patients is associated with the reduction of allergen-specific proliferation and with the up-regulation of the IL-10 regulatory cytokine.

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