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Exp Lung Res. 2013 Feb;39(1):48-57. doi: 10.3109/01902148.2012.749960. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Adjuvant effect of zymosan after pulmonary treatment in a mouse ovalbumin allergy model.

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Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.


An association has been observed between indoor mold contamination and lung allergy and asthma. This relationship is not fully understood. 1→3-β-Glucan is the major cell wall component of fungi and a good marker of fungi exposure. The objective was to evaluate the adjuvant effect of zymosan, a crude yeast cell wall preparation of 1→3-β-glucan, during ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization in an allergy model. BALB/c mice were sensitized by pharyngeal aspiration with saline, 50 μg of OVA, or OVA with 1, 10, 50, or 75 μg of zymosan on days 0, 7, and 14. One week after sensitization, each sensitized animal group was challenged with an aspiration dose of 50 μg of OVA once a week for 2 weeks. At 1 day after the last aspiration, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and blood was collected, and markers of lung allergy and inflammation were assessed. An adjuvant effect of zymosan on OVA allergy during sensitization was observed as indicated by significant elevations in lung eosinophils, serum OVA-specific IgE, and lung IL-5 in the groups sensitized with zymosan and OVA. Pulmonary treatment with zymosan also amplified lung inflammation. Elevations were observed in lung neutrophils, TNF-α, and parameters of lung injury in the groups primed with both zymosan and OVA. In nearly all parameters, a non-linear dose-response relationship was observed in the groups primed with OVA and zymosan. The optimum adjuvant dose of zymosan was 10 μg. This study demonstrated an adjuvant effect of zymosan when exposures occurred during the sensitization phase in an OVA-induced allergy model in BALB/c mice.

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