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J Immunol. 1998 Dec 15;161(12):7054-62.

Immunostimulatory DNA sequences inhibit IL-5, eosinophilic inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness in mice.

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Department of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0635, USA.


We have used a mouse model of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness to demonstrate that immunostimulatory DNA sequences (ISS) containing a CpG DNA motif significantly inhibit airway eosinophilia and reduce responsiveness to inhaled methacholine. ISS not only inhibited eosinophilia of the airway (by 93%) and lung parenchyma (91%), but also significantly inhibited blood eosinophilia (86%), suggesting that ISS was exerting a significant effect on the bone marrow production of eosinophils. The inhibition of the bone marrow production of eosinophils by 58% was associated with a significant inhibition of T cell-derived cytokine generation (IL-5, granulocyte-macrophage CSF, and IL-3). ISS exerted this inhibitory effect on T cell cytokine production indirectly by stimulating monocytes/macrophages and NK cells to generate IL-12 and IFNs. The onset of the ISS effect on reducing the number of tissue eosinophils was both immediate (within 1 day of administration) and sustained (lasted 6 days), and was not due to ISS directly inducing eosinophil apoptosis. ISS was effective in inhibiting eosinophilic airway inflammation when administered either systemically (i.p.), or mucosally (i.e., intranasally or intratracheally). Interestingly, a single dose of ISS inhibited airway eosinophilia as effectively as daily injections of corticosteroids for 7 days. Moreover, while both ISS and corticosteroids inhibited IL-5 generation, only ISS was able to induce allergen-specific IFN-gamma production and redirect the immune system toward a Th1 response. Thus, systemic or mucosal administration of ISS before allergen exposure could provide a novel form of active immunotherapy in allergic diseases.

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