Background: Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is an effective treatment of respiratory allergies including house dust mite (HDM) and Hymenoptera venom allergy. During the build-up phase, the allergen is administered weekly at increasing doses, while during the maintenance phase, it is administered at a fixed high dose every 4 weeks. Upon SCIT injection, the allergen is driven to the draining lymph nodes where it most likely induces an immune response. Immunologic changes are thus supposedly induced at each injection. Objectives: It is now established that SCIT induces tolerance in the long term, but the precise underlying immunologic mechanisms remain unclear. Therefore, we wanted to analyze the immunologic changes induced in both innate and adaptive immune cells at each individual SCIT administration during the maintenance phase in HDM-allergic patients. More specifically, we wondered whether the changes in regulatory T cell (Treg) and IgE + B cell percentages, which are observed at the end of a 3-year course of SCIT, already occurred during the maintenance phase and whether these possible changes were sustained. Methods: We enrolled 6 patients suffering from HDM allergic rhinitis and undergoing maintenance HDM SCIT for 18-24 months. The same SCIT extract was used for all patients. We collected blood samples at 5 time points: T1 (immediately before a given SCIT injection), T2 (9 days after T1), T3 (29 days after T1 and right before the successive administration), T4 (39 days after T1), and T5 (61 days after T1 and just before the next injection). Six non-allergic age-matched healthy individuals were used as controls. Using flow cytometry, we assessed the following cell subsets in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: CD4 and CD8 T cells, Tregs, B cells, IgE + B cells, NK and NKT cells, and total and activated basophils. Results: HDM-allergic patients displayed increased percentages of CD4 and CD8 T cells and NK cells compared to healthy controls. In contrast, NKT cells, total B cells, and basophils were diminished. These differences were maintained throughout the time course and seemed to be independent of the periodical SCIT injections. On the contrary, Treg percentages were significantly reduced in all HDM-allergic patients at T1. However, they increased at T2 and T4 (9 days after each SCIT injection) but decreased again at T3 and T5, just before the next one, resulting in cyclic changes. IgE + B cells were significantly increased at T1, even more increased after each administration (T2, T4), and went back to their initial levels at T3 and T5, also resulting in a cyclic pattern. Conclusions: Our data suggest that during the SCIT maintenance phase, cycles of expansion/contraction of Tregs and IgE + B cells occur at each SCIT injection. Therefore, the sustained induction of immune tolerance by SCIT, through the increase of Tregs, seems to depend on the periodical exposure to the allergen, at least during the early steady state.

Maintenance-Phase Subcutaneous Immunotherapy with House Dust Mites Induces Cyclic Immunologic Effects

Chaoul N.;Albanesi M.;Giliberti L.;Rossi M. P.;Di Bona D.;MacChia L.
2019

Abstract

Background: Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is an effective treatment of respiratory allergies including house dust mite (HDM) and Hymenoptera venom allergy. During the build-up phase, the allergen is administered weekly at increasing doses, while during the maintenance phase, it is administered at a fixed high dose every 4 weeks. Upon SCIT injection, the allergen is driven to the draining lymph nodes where it most likely induces an immune response. Immunologic changes are thus supposedly induced at each injection. Objectives: It is now established that SCIT induces tolerance in the long term, but the precise underlying immunologic mechanisms remain unclear. Therefore, we wanted to analyze the immunologic changes induced in both innate and adaptive immune cells at each individual SCIT administration during the maintenance phase in HDM-allergic patients. More specifically, we wondered whether the changes in regulatory T cell (Treg) and IgE + B cell percentages, which are observed at the end of a 3-year course of SCIT, already occurred during the maintenance phase and whether these possible changes were sustained. Methods: We enrolled 6 patients suffering from HDM allergic rhinitis and undergoing maintenance HDM SCIT for 18-24 months. The same SCIT extract was used for all patients. We collected blood samples at 5 time points: T1 (immediately before a given SCIT injection), T2 (9 days after T1), T3 (29 days after T1 and right before the successive administration), T4 (39 days after T1), and T5 (61 days after T1 and just before the next injection). Six non-allergic age-matched healthy individuals were used as controls. Using flow cytometry, we assessed the following cell subsets in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: CD4 and CD8 T cells, Tregs, B cells, IgE + B cells, NK and NKT cells, and total and activated basophils. Results: HDM-allergic patients displayed increased percentages of CD4 and CD8 T cells and NK cells compared to healthy controls. In contrast, NKT cells, total B cells, and basophils were diminished. These differences were maintained throughout the time course and seemed to be independent of the periodical SCIT injections. On the contrary, Treg percentages were significantly reduced in all HDM-allergic patients at T1. However, they increased at T2 and T4 (9 days after each SCIT injection) but decreased again at T3 and T5, just before the next one, resulting in cyclic changes. IgE + B cells were significantly increased at T1, even more increased after each administration (T2, T4), and went back to their initial levels at T3 and T5, also resulting in a cyclic pattern. Conclusions: Our data suggest that during the SCIT maintenance phase, cycles of expansion/contraction of Tregs and IgE + B cells occur at each SCIT injection. Therefore, the sustained induction of immune tolerance by SCIT, through the increase of Tregs, seems to depend on the periodical exposure to the allergen, at least during the early steady state.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/242732
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