Modulation of Allergic Disease through the use of Th1-associated Vaccine Adjuvants

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Staats, Herman F

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The prevalence of allergic disease such as peanut (PN) allergy has increased within the last century. Environmental factors have been associated with an increased risk of developing allergic diseases. The severity of allergic diseases has also increased and clinical trials are investigating allergen-specific immunotherapy as a method to treat allergies. The purpose of this work was to identify a vaccine adjuvant that induced potent antigen-specific Th1 immune responses and determine its ability to reduce the development and severity of Th2- mediated allergic disease, using models of peanut hypersensitivity.

Three studies were performed. The first study compared a variety of vaccine adjuvants to identify a potent adjuvant with strong Th1-associated activity. This study verified that the Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand CpG could induce potent Th1-associated immune responses. The second study tested the ability of environmental endotoxin levels and alum-adjuvanted vaccines to modulate the development of allergic disease using a mouse model of peanut allergy. Additionally, the TLR ligands, CpG and MPL, were combined with alum-adjuvanted vaccines to determine their ability to further impact allergic disease development. Results suggested that the addition of CpG to an alum-adjuvanted vaccine indirectly modified host immunity in a manner that decreased the development of PN-induced allergic disease. The last study evaluated the ability of CpG to reduce the severity of peanut allergy symptoms when combined with peanut in an immunotherapy formulation administered to peanut-hypersensitive mice. Nasal immunotherapy with PN + CpG but not PN alone or CpG alone reduced the severity of PN-induced anaphylaxis in hypersensitive mice. PN-hypersensitive mice treated with PN + CpG displayed an increased PN-specific IgG2c and IFN-γ responses. A reduction in allergic disease severity in PN-hypersensitive mice correlated with an increase in PN-specific IgG2c, IFN-γ and IL-10 responses and a reduction in PN-specific IL-13 responses, suggesting a shift from Th2 responses towards Th1 and/or T regulatory cell responses.

Taken together, the data obtained from these studies demonstrate the potent activity of CpG to induce antigen-specific Th1-associated immune responses and also reduce the severity of peanut-hypersensitivity in mice through direct and indirect association with peanut allergens.






Johnson-Weaver, Brandi Tranae (2015). Modulation of Allergic Disease through the use of Th1-associated Vaccine Adjuvants. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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