Different Bla-g T cell antigens dominate responses in asthma versus rhinitis subjects

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Background and objective

The allergenicity of several German cockroach (Bla-g) antigens at the level of IgE responses is well established. However, less is known about the specificity of CD4+ TH responses, and whether differences exist in associated magnitude or cytokine profiles as a function of disease severity.


Proteomic and transcriptomic techniques were used to identify novel antigens recognized by allergen-specific T cells. To characterize different TH functionalities of allergen-specific T cells, ELISPOT assays with sets of overlapping peptides covering the sequences of known allergens and novel antigens were employed to measure release of IL-5, IFNγ, IL-10, IL-17 and IL-21.


Using these techniques, we characterized TH responses in a cohort of adult Bla-g-sensitized subjects, either with (n = 55) or without (n = 17) asthma, and nonsensitized controls (n = 20). T cell responses were detected for ten known Bla-g allergens and an additional ten novel Bla-g antigens, representing in total a 5-fold increase in the number of antigens demonstrated to be targeted by allergen-specific T cells. Responses of sensitized individuals regardless of asthma status were predominantly TH2, but higher in patients with diagnosed asthma. In asthmatic subjects, Bla-g 5, 9 and 11 were immunodominant, while, in contrast, nonasthmatic-sensitized subjects responded mostly to Bla-g 5 and 4 and the novel antigen NBGA5.


Asthmatic and nonasthmatic cockroach-sensitized individuals exhibit similar TH2-polarized responses. Compared with nonasthmatics, however, asthmatic individuals have responses of higher magnitude and different allergen specificity.

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