Induction of interleukin-10 and suppressor of cytokine signalling-3 gene expression following peptide immunotherapy
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BACKGROUND: Allergen-derived (T cell epitope) peptides may be safer for immunotherapy than native allergen, as they do not cross-link immunoglobulin (Ig)E. However, HLA polymorphism results in multiple potential epitopes. Synthetic peptides of phospholipase (PL) A(2) were selected for a peptide vaccine, on the basis of binding affinity for commonly expressed HLA-DR molecules. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate treatment with an HLA-DR-based PLA(2) peptide vaccine in subjects with mild honeybee allergy in an open, controlled study. METHODS: Twelve volunteers with allergy to bee venom received nine intradermal injections of PLA(2) peptides, with six untreated subjects serving as controls. Outcome was assessed by the size of the late-phase cutaneous reaction to allergen, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferation, cytokine release, and expression of genes associated with immune regulation. RESULTS: Subjects receiving peptides showed a decrease in the magnitude of the late-phase cutaneous reaction to bee venom compared with controls (P=0.03). The proliferation of venom-stimulated PBMCs decreased in treated subjects compared with controls (P=0.01). Peptide treatment reduced the production of IL-13 by PLA(2)-stimulated PBMCs (P<0.01) and IFN-gamma (P<0.01), and increased the production of IL-10 (P=0.02). Transcription of the suppressor of cytokine signalling (Socs)3 gene was significantly increased following therapy. A transient, but modest, increase in allergen-specific IgG was also observed. CONCLUSION: HLA-DR-based T cell epitopes modify surrogate markers associated with successful immunotherapy and induction of immune regulation, supporting the concept that this form of treatment may be efficacious in human allergic disease.
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