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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012 Dec;47(6):852-63. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2011-0414OC. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Toll-like receptor-2 agonist-allergen coupling efficiently redirects Th2 cell responses and inhibits allergic airway eosinophilia.

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Department for Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists beneficially modulate allergic airway inflammation. However, the efficiency of TLR agonists varies considerably, and their exact cellular mechanisms (especially of TLR 2/6 agonists) are incompletely understood. We investigated at a cellular level whether the administration of the pharmacologically improved TLR2/6 agonist S-[2,3-bispalmitoyiloxy-(2R)-propyl]-R-cysteinyl-amido-monomethoxy polyethylene glycol (BPP) conjugated to antigenic peptide (BPP-OVA) could divert an existing Th2 response and influence airway eosinophilia. The effects of BPP-OVA on airway inflammation were assessed in a classic murine sensitization/challenge model and an adoptive transfer model, which involved the adoptive transfer of in vitro differentiated ovalbumin (OVA)-specific Th2 cells. Functional T-cell stimulation by lung dendritic cells (DCs) was determined both in vitro and in vivo, combined with a cytokine secretion analysis. A single mucosal application of BPP-OVA efficiently delivered antigen, led to TLR2-mediated DC activation, and resulted in OVA-specific T-cell proliferation via lung DCs in vivo. In alternative models of allergic airway disease, a single administration of BPP-OVA before OVA challenge (but not BPP alone) significantly reduced airway eosinophilia, most likely through altered antigen-specific T-cell stimulation via DCs. Analyses of adoptively transferred Th2-biased cells after BPP-OVA administration in vivo suggested that BPP-OVA guides antigen-specific Th2 cells to produce significantly higher amounts of IFN-γ upon allergen challenge. In conclusion, our data show for the first time that a single mucosal administration of a TLR 2/6 agonist-allergen conjugate can provoke IFN-γ responses in Th2-biased cells and alleviate allergic airway inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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