Background Our previous study demonstrated that lipoteichoic acid (LTA) from Staphylococcus aureus induced T helper type 2 (Th2)-prone dermatitis resembling that seen in atopic dermatitis (AD) patients in mice sensitized percutaneously with an allergen. However, the effects of LTA on allergen-specific IgE production in such sensitized mice have not been elucidated.
Objective The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of LTA from S. aureus on allergen-specific IgE production in mice sensitized percutaneously with a house dust mite antigen (MA).
Methods Mice were sensitized with a single topical application of MA and/or LTA to barrier-disrupted abdominal skin. One to 5 weeks later, MA-specific IgE antibodies in sera from sensitized mice were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Expression of B7.1 (CD80), B7.2 (CD86) and CD40L molecules by CD40-positive (CD40+) and CD4-positive (CD4+) cells in the lymph nodes of sensitized mice were analysed by flow-cytometry (FACS).
Results Simultaneous sensitization with MA and LTA increased IgE production 3 weeks later, significantly more than sensitization with MA alone. FACS analysis of CD40+ cells in the lymph nodes from sensitized mice showed that simultaneous sensitization with MA and LTA did not enhance CD80- or CD86-expression by antigen-presenting cells such as B lymphocytes and dendritic cells more than sensitization with MA alone. However, analysis of CD4+ cells in the lymph nodes showed that simultaneous sensitization with MA and LTA increased the number of CD40L-expressing Th cells more than sensitization with MA alone.
Conclusion These results suggest that LTA enhances allergen-specific IgE production by a mechanism associated with up-regulation of CD40L-expressing Th cells and this might explain the role of skin colonization with S. aureus in AD patients.