Background Immunotherapy with anti-IgE antibodies for treatment of allergy is promising but a short half-life and extremely high cost limit its application.
Objective We sought to develop IgE vaccines that induce longer-lasting auto-antibodies to neutralize self-IgE as an alternative therapy.
Methods The vaccine was made by conjugating three synthetic peptides corresponding to human IgE receptor-binding sites to a carrier, hepatitis B surface antigen. To test the immunogenicity of the vaccine, rats were immunized with the vaccine or hepatitis B surface antigen as control. Serum IgG titres to human IgE and the IgE of other species were measured. The inhibition by rat antisera of the binding of human IgE to its receptor was assessed by ELISA, flow cytometry analysis, and passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA), and its ability to recognize receptor-bound IgE was examined. The in vivo effect of the vaccine was evaluated in trichosanthin-sensitized mice and rats. In the preventative study, vaccination started before sensitization commenced, while in the treatment study, vaccination started after sensitization. Sensitized mice and rats receiving injections of the carrier served as controls. Trichosanthin-specific IgE was measured using PCA.
Results Sera from vaccine-immunized rats contained high titre antibodies that reacted with soluble and plate-bound but not with receptor-bound human IgE; they also reacted with mouse, rat, and dog IgE. Furthermore, the sera inhibited the binding of human IgE to its receptor in a dose-dependent manner. In preventative and treatment studies, serum trichosanthin-specific IgE levels were significantly reduced in vaccinated groups compared with controls.
Conclusion Antibodies against self-IgE can be induced by IgE peptide-based vaccines, which are effective in preventing the increase of IgE and in down-regulating IgE in sensitized animals.
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