Indexed on: 01 Jan '13Published on: 01 Jan '13Published in: Vaccine
Two main shortcomings of classical allergen-specific immunotherapy are long treatment duration and low patient compliance. Utilizing the unique immunological features of the skin by transcutaneous application of antigen opens new approaches not only for painless vaccine delivery, but also for allergen-specific immunotherapy. Under certain conditions, however, barrier disruption of the skin favors T helper 2-biased immune responses, which may lead to new sensitizations.In a prophylactic approach, an infra-red laser device was employed, producing an array of micropores of user-defined number, density, and depth on dorsal mouse skin. The grass pollen allergen Phl p 5 was administered by patch with or without the T helper 1-promoting CpG oligodeoxynucleotide 1826 as adjuvant, or was subcutaneously injected. Protection from allergic immune responses was tested by sensitization via injection of allergen adjuvanted with alum, followed by intranasal instillation. In a therapeutic setting, pre-sensitized mice were treated either by the standard method using subcutaneous injection or via laser-generated micropores. Sera were analyzed for IgG antibody subclass distribution by ELISA and for IgE antibodies by a basophil mediator release assay. Cytokine profiles from supernatants of re-stimulated lymphocytes and from bronchoalveolar lavage fluids were assessed by flow cytometry using a bead-based assay. The cellular composition of lavage fluids was determined by flow cytometry.Application of antigen via micropores induced T helper 2-biased immune responses. Addition of CpG balanced the response and prevented from allergic sensitization, i.e. IgE induction, airway inflammation, and expression of T helper 2 cytokines. Therapeutic efficacy of transcutaneous immunotherapy was equal compared to subcutaneous injection, but was superior with respect to suppression of already established IgE responses.Transcutaneous immunotherapy via laser-generated micropores provides an efficient novel platform for treatment of type I allergic diseases. Furthermore, immunomodulation with T helper 1-promoting adjuvants can prevent the risk for new sensitization.