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Abstract

Most mammal-derived respiratory allergens belong to the lipocalin family of proteins. Determinants of their allergenic capacity are still unknown. Innate immune cells, in particular dendritic cells, have been shown to be involved in the allergenicity of some proteins. As recognition by dendritic cells is one of the few plausible mechanisms for the allergenicity of proteins, we wanted to investigate their role in the allergenicity of lipocalin allergens. Therefore, we first incubated human monocyte-derived dendritic cells with immunologically functional recombinant allergens mouse Mus m 1, dog Can f 1 and 2, cow Bos d 2, horse Equ c 1 and natural Bos d 2. Then, the surface marker expression and cytokine production of dendritic cells and their capacity to promote T cell proliferation and Th2 immune deviation in naïve CD4+ T cells were examined in vitro. We found that near to endotoxin-free lipocalin allergens had no effect on the activation, allostimulatory capacity or cytokine production of dendritic cells. The dendritic cells could not induce immune deviation in naïve CD4+ T cells. In contrast, lipopolysaccharide activated the dendritic cells efficiently. However, lipocalin allergens were not able to modify the lipopolysaccharide-induced responses. We conclude that an important group of mammal-derived respiratory allergens, lipocalins, appear not to be able to activate dendritic cells, a major component involved in the allergenicity of some proteins. It is conceivable that this incapacity of lipocalin allergens to arouse innate immunity may be associated with their poor capacity to induce a strong T cell response, verified in several studies.