Background: Genetic immunization is a very promising therapeutic approach for allergy treatment. In the present study we investigate the influence of the nature of the allergen, the mouse strain, and the relative amount of CpG to expressed recombinant protein on immune responses using two major peanut allergens, Ara h 1 and Ara h 4.
Methods: The cDNA of Ara h 1 and of an isoform of Ara h 4 were cloned and inserted in pcDNA3. Antigen specific IgG1, IgG2a and IgE were followed after genetic immunization with 100 μg of these clones in mouse strain SKH-Hr1 or BALB/c and with 1 μg of the clones+99 blank plasmid in SKH-Hr1.
Results: Genetic immunization in SKH-Hr1 with Ara h 1 elicited a classical Th1 type response, but Ara h 4 elicited a mixed Th1/Th2 response with high IgG1 and even IgE in some mice. In BALB/c both plasmids produced a high IgG1 level. Decreasing the amount of plasmid injected did not change the immune response profile. However, increasing the amount of CpG administered relative to the recombinant Ara h 4 protein expressed reversed the Th1/Th2 response pattern in SKH-Hr1 mice.
Conclusions: Immune responses after genetic immunization are strongly influenced by the nature of the allergen, the mouse strain, and the ratio of CpG to recombinant protein expressed.