Enhanced sublingual immunotherapy by TAT-fused recombinant allergen in a murine rhinitis model

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Allergen-specific sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is well known as an effective and non-invasive route to induce allergy desensitization. The goal of this study was to investigate whether a TAT-fused recombinant allergen could enhance SLIT efficacy. BALB/c mice sensitized to the main allergen (Che a 3) of Chenopodium album pollen were treated sublingually either with rChe a 3 (100 μg/dose) or rTAT-Che a 3 (100 μg/dose), two times per week for eight weeks. SLIT with rTAT-Che a 3 led to significantly greater allergen-specific IgG2a than rChe a 3; however, neither rTAT-Che a 3 nor rChe a 3 affected allergen-specific IgE or IgG1 antibody levels. In addition, interleukin 4 (IL-4) levels in re-stimulated splenocytes from the rTAT-Che a 3 mice were significantly lower than in those from the rChe a 3 mice, while interferon-γ (IFN-γ) was significantly greater in the rChe a 3 mice than in the rTAT-Che a 3 mice. Furthermore, sublingual administration of rTAT-Che a 3 induced significantly greater TGF-β secretion in re-stimulated splenocytes than administration of rChe a 3. Accordingly, SLIT with rTAT-Che a 3 led to significantly greater expression of TGF-β- and Foxp3-specific mRNAs in the splenocytes than in those from the rChe a 3 mice. Our findings demonstrate that TAT-fused rChe a 3 suppressed the allergic response through preferential enhancement of systemic regulatory T-cell (Treg)-mediated immunity responses, likely by facilitating allergen capture and presentation by sublingual Langerhans-like dendritic cells.

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