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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009;148(1):65-72. doi: 10.1159/000151507. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Allergic sensitization to bovine beta-lactoglobulin: comparison between germ-free and conventional BALB/c mice.

Author information

1
INRA, UR 496, Immuno-Allergie Alimentaire, IBiTecS-SPI, CEA de Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France. Stephane.Hazebrouck@cea.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The 'hygiene hypothesis' suggests that high hygienic standards met in western countries lead to a lack of microbial exposure, thus promoting the development of atopy by preventing the proper maturation of the immune system. Germ-free animals are deprived of the immune stimulation that occurs during postnatal gut colonization by commensal bacteria. Germ-free mice could thereby provide an attractive model for studying the impact of gut microbiota on the development of Th2-mediated disorders such as allergy.

METHODS:

Germ-free and conventional BALB/c mice were sensitized to beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), a major cow's milk allergen, by means of intraperitoneal injections in the presence of incomplete Freund's adjuvant. Time courses of serum and fecal BLG-specific antibody responses were monitored and cytokine production was assayed in BLG-reactivated splenocytes.

RESULTS:

Serum BLG-specific IgG1 and IgE concentrations were significantly higher in germ-free mice during the primary immune response and IgE production persisted longer in germ-free mice. Furthermore, secretion of BLG-specific IgA was evidenced only in feces from germ-free mice while, in contrast, fecal IgG1 concentrations were at least 3-fold higher in conventional mice than in germ-free mice. Production of IL-5, IL-10 and IFN-gamma was 3-fold enhanced in BLG-reactivated splenocytes from germ-free mice.

CONCLUSION:

The absence of gut microbiota significantly affects the BLG-specific immune response in BALB/c mice, thus suggesting that this model might be of interest for further studies exploring the influence of gut colonization by different bacterial strains on the development of an allergic-type sensitization.

PMID:
18716405
DOI:
10.1159/000151507
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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