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Clin Exp Allergy. 2012 Dec;42(12):1745-55. doi: 10.1111/cea.12015.

Allergen-specific CD4+ T cell responses in peripheral blood do not predict the early onset of clinical efficacy during grass pollen sublingual immunotherapy.

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Stallergenes, Antony, France.



Surrogate biomarkers of efficacy are needed in support of allergen-specific immunotherapy.


The aim of this study was to relate changes in peripheral CD4(+) T cell responses to clinical efficacy during sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).


Allergen-specific CD4(+) T cell responses were assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 89 grass pollen-allergic individuals enrolled in a double-blind placebo-controlled SLIT study conducted in an allergen exposure chamber ( NCT00619827). Surface phenotype, proliferative responses, cytokine production and gene expression were analysed in coded samples at baseline, and after 2 and 4 months of SLIT, in PBMCs after in vitro allergen stimulation or among MHC class II/peptide (pMHCII)-tetramer-positive CD4(+) T cells.


SLIT induced a 29.3% improvement of the average rhinoconjunctivitis total symptom score in the active group, when compared to the placebo group. In parallel, only minor changes in proportions of CD4(+) T cells expressing Th1 (CCR5(+), CXCR3(+)), Th2 (CRTh2(+), CCR4(+)) and Treg (CD25(+), CD127(-), Foxp3(+)) markers were detected. A down-regulation of IL-4 and IL-10 gene expression and IL-10 secretion (P < 0.001) were observed, as well as a decrease in the frequency of potential "pro-allergic" CD27(-) Th2 cells from patients receiving active tablets (P < 0.001), but without any correlation with clinical benefit. pMHCII-tetramer analyses failed to document any major impact in both numbers and polarization of circulating Phl p 1- and Phl p 5-specific CD4(+) T cells, confirming that early clinical improvement during SLIT is not associated with dramatic alterations in T lymphocyte responses.


Changes in patterns of peripheral CD4(+) T cells are not markers for the early onset of efficacy during SLIT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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