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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Aug;126(2):355-65, 365.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.05.010.

The leukocyte activation antigen CD69 limits allergic asthma and skin contact hypersensitivity.

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Department of Vascular Biology and Inflammation, Fundación Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.



Allergic diseases have a major health care impact in industrialized countries. The development of these diseases is influenced by exposure to allergen and to immunological and genetic factors. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the inflammatory response that triggers allergy are not well defined.


We have investigated the role of the leukocyte activation antigen CD69 in the regulation of two allergic diseases, asthma and contact dermatitis.


Analysis of two models of allergic diseases in CD69 knockout and wild-type mice: ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation (BALB/c genetic background) and contact hypersensitivity to oxazolone (C57BL/6J genetic background).


CD69 deficiency dramatically enhanced the inflammatory response in the ovalbumin-induced asthma model of antigen-induced airway allergy. CD69 knockout mice showed exacerbated pulmonary eosinophil recruitment, high vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression levels in lung vasculature, and enhanced T(H)2 and T(H)17 cytokines in the bronchoalveolar space and lung tissue. In the hapten-induced cutaneous contact hypersensitivity model, both CD69 deficiency and treatment with anti-CD69 mAb increased inflammation. Treatment with contact allergens induced enhanced T(H)1 and T(H)17 responses in CD69 deficient mice, and neutralizing anti-IL-17 antibodies reduced skin inflammation. In both experimental systems, adoptive transfer of lymph node cells from CD69 knockout mice increased the inflammatory response in recipient mice.


These results demonstrate that the early activation receptor CD69 is an intrinsic modulator of immune allergic processes through the negative regulation of allergen-induced T-cell effector responses.

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