• asthma;
  • asthma mechanisms;
  • cytokine biology

To cite this article: Zhou B, Ensell M, Zhou Y, Nair U, Glickstein J, Kermany MH, Cai Q, Cai C, Liu W, Deng Y-P, Kakigi A, Barbieri M, Mora M, Kanangat S, Yoo TJ. Prevention and treatment of DNA vaccine encoding cockroach allergen Bla g 1 in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. Allergy 2012; 67: 166–174.


Background:  One-fourth of the US population is sensitized to the German cockroach. Primary German cockroach allergen Bla g 1 is detected in 63% of homes and 52% of childcare facilities in the United States. No effective treatment or vaccination strategies are yet available.

Objectives:  We evaluated the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of a plasmid DNA-mediated vaccination using the Bla g 1 gene in a mouse model of allergic inflammatory airway disease.

Methods:  A plasmid DNA vector coding for the Bla g 1 allergen controlled by cytomegalovirus promoter was constructed. To estimate the protective efficacy, BALB/c mice were given three injections of plasmid DNA–Bla g 1 prior to sensitization with two priming doses of recombinant Bla g 1 (rBla g 1) antigens, followed by nebulized rBla g 1 challenge. In the therapeutic approach, sensitization was followed by administering Bla g 1 DNA vaccine.

Results:  Bla g 1 vaccination significantly reduced allergen-induced airway inflammation, even after mice were presensitized and a Th2-dominant response was established. The Bla g 1 vaccination significantly reduced total inflammatory cell infiltrate, eosinophilia, secretion of Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, allergen-induced inflammatory infiltrates in the lungs, and Bla g 1-specific IgE in serum upon challenge with rBla g 1. Importantly, Bla g 1 DNA vaccination was able to induce IL-10-secreting regulatory T cells that could suppress the allergen-specific Th2 cells.

Conclusion:  DNA vaccination showed protective and therapeutic efficacy against a clinically relevant allergen Bla g 1.