Send to

Choose Destination
Allergy. 2008 Nov;63(11):1428-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01810.x.

Complementary roles for lipid and protein allergens in triggering innate and adaptive immune systems.

Author information

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology and Allergy, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.



Recent advances in allergy research mostly focussed on two major headings: improving protein allergen purification, which is aimed towards a better characterization of IgE- and T-cell reactive epitopes, and the potential new role for unconventional innate and regulatory T cells in controlling airway inflammation. These advancements could appear to be in conflict each other, as innate T cells have a poorly-defined antigen specificity that is often directed toward nonprotein substances, such as lipids.


To reconcile these contrasting findings, the model of cypress pollinosis as paradigmatic for studying allergic diseases in adults is suggested.


The biochemical characterization of major native protein allergens from undenatured pollen grain demonstrated that the most relevant substance with IgE-binding activity is a glycohydrolase enzyme, which easily denaturizes in stored grains. Moreover, lipids from the pollen membrane are implicated in early pollen grain capture and recognition by CD1(+) dendritic cells (DC) and CD1-restricted T lymphocytes. These T cells display Th0/Th2 functional activity and are also able to produce regulatory cytokines, such as IL-10 and TGF-beta. CD1(+) immature DCs expand in the respiratory mucosa of allergic subjects and are able to process both proteins and lipids.


A final scenario may suggest that expansion and functional activation of CD1(+) DCs is a key step for mounting a Th0/Th2-deviated immune response, and that such innate response does not confer long-lasting protective immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center