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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 22;10(4):e0122090. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122090. eCollection 2015.

Allergen-Specific Cytokine Polarization Protects Shetland Ponies against Culicoides obsoletus-Induced Insect Bite Hypersensitivity.

Author information

1
Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2
IDEXX Laboratories, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Cell Biology & Immunology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa.
6
Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JT, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The immunological mechanisms explaining development of an allergy in some individuals and not in others remain incompletely understood. Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is a common, seasonal, IgE-mediated, pruritic skin disorder that affects considerable proportions of horses of different breeds, which is caused by bites of the insect Culicoides obsoletus (C. obsoletus). We investigated the allergen-specific immune status of individual horses that had either been diagnosed to be healthy or to suffer of IBH. Following intradermal allergen injection, skin biopsies were taken of IBH-affected and healthy ponies and cytokine expression was determined by RT-PCR. In addition, allergen-specific antibody titers were measured and cytokine expression of in vitro stimulated, allergen-specific CD4 T-cells was determined. 24 hrs after allergen injection, a significant increase in mRNA expression of the type-2 cytokine IL-4 was observed in the skin of IBH-affected Shetland ponies. In the skin of healthy ponies, however, an increase in IFNγ mRNA expression was found. Analysis of allergen-specific antibody titers revealed that all animals produced allergen-specific antibodies, and allergen-specific stimulation of CD4 T-cells revealed a significant higher percentage of IFNγ-expressing CD4 T-cells in healthy ponies compared to IBH-affected ponies. These data indicate that horses not affected by IBH, in contrast to the so far established dogma, are not immunologically ignorant but have a Th1-skewed allergen-specific immune response that appears to protect against IBH-associated symptoms. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration of a natural situation, in which an allergen-specific immune skewing is protective in an allergic disorder.

PMID:
25901733
PMCID:
PMC4406554
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0122090
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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