Vaccination with heat-killed Listeria as adjuvant reverses established allergen-induced airway hyperreactivity and inflammation: Role of CD8(+) T cells and IL-18 JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Hansen, G., Yeung, V. P., Berry, G., Umetsu, D. T., DeKruyff, R. H. 2000; 164 (1): 223-230


Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and inflammation and is associated with high serum IgE and overproduction of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 by allergen-specific Th2 cells. Our previous studies demonstrated that heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes (HKL) as an adjuvant in immunotherapy successfully reversed ongoing Ag-specific Th2-dominated responses toward Th1-dominated responses, but it was unclear if such immune modulation could reverse ongoing, established disease in target organs such as the lung. In this paper we show that a single dose of Ag plus HKL as adjuvant significantly reduced AHR in a murine model for asthma and reversed established AHR when given late after allergen sensitization. HKL as adjuvant also dramatically inhibited airway inflammation, eosinophilia, and mucus production, significantly reduced Ag-specific IgE and IL-4 production, and dramatically increased Ag-specific IFN-gamma synthesis. The inhibitory effect of HKL on AHR depended on the presence of IL-12 and CD8+ T cells and was associated with an increase of IL-18 mRNA expression. Thus, our results demonstrate that HKL as an adjuvant for immunotherapy mediates immune deviation from a pathological Th2-dominated response toward a protective immune response in peripheral lymphoid tissues and in the lungs and may be clinically effective in the treatment of patients with established asthma and allergic disease.

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