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Immunology. 2013 Mar;138(3):258-68. doi: 10.1111/imm.12032.

Combination peptide immunotherapy based on T-cell epitope mapping reduces allergen-specific IgE and eosinophilia in allergic airway inflammation.

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MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


Peptide immunotherapy using soluble peptides containing allergen-derived immunodominant T-cell epitopes holds therapeutic promise for allergic asthma. Previous studies in BALB/c mice using the immunodominant peptide epitope of chicken ovalbumin (p323-339) have been unable to demonstrate therapeutic effects in ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation. We have previously shown that intravenous application of p323-339 can effectively tolerise p323-339-reactive T cells in a non-allergic model in C57BL/6 mice. This study aimed to assess the effects of using p323-339 immunotherapy in a C57BL/6 model of ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation, identify any additional epitopes recognized by the ovalbumin-responsive T-cell repertoire in C57BL/6 mice and assess the effects of combination peptide immunotherapy in this model. Ovalbumin-reactive T-cell lines were generated from ovalbumin-immunized C57BL/6 mice and proliferative responses to a panel of overlapping peptides covering the ovalbumin sequence were assessed. Soluble peptides (singly or combined) were administered intravenously to C57BL/6 mice before the induction of ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation. Peptide immunotherapy using the 323-339 peptide alone did not reduce the severity of allergic airway inflammation. An additional immunodominant T-cell epitope in ovalbumin was identified within the 263-278 sequence. Combination peptide immunotherapy, using the 323-339 and 263-278 peptides together, reduced eosinophilia in the bronchoalveolar lavage and ovalbumin-specific IgE, with apparent reductions in interleukin-5 and interleukin-13. Characterization of the T-cell response to a model allergen has allowed the development of combination peptide immunotherapy with improved efficacy in allergic airway inflammation. This model holds important potential for future mechanistic studies using peptide immunotherapy in allergy.

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