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Repeated low-dose intradermal allergen injection suppresses allergen-induced cutaneous late responses.

Author(s): Rotiroti G, Shamji M, Durham SR, Till SJ.

Affiliation(s): Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Publication date & source: 2012, J Allergy Clin Immunol. , 130(4):918-24

BACKGROUND: Subcutaneous immunotherapy with high-dose grass pollen was first described more than 100 years ago. This treatment suppresses allergen-induced cutaneous late responses, with lesser effects on early responses. In contrast, low-dose subcutaneous immunotherapy has not shown clinical benefit. Uncontrolled reports from the early 20th century describe low-dose allergen inoculation directly into the dermis, an immunologically active area containing abundant dendritic cells and lymphatics. OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate the effect of low-dose intradermal grass pollen administration on cutaneous reactivity to allergen. METHODS: Thirty adults sensitized to grass and tree pollens were randomized to receive (1) 6 repeat intradermal injections at 2-week intervals of grass pollen extract (estimated 7 ng of the major grass allergen Phl p 5 per injection), (2) 2 intradermal injections separated by 10 weeks, or (3) a single intradermal injection at 10 weeks. At the end of the study, cutaneous early and late responses were measured after double-blind intradermal injection with grass and birch pollen. RESULTS: Participants who received 6 fortnightly intradermal grass pollen injections had markedly smaller cutaneous late responses to grass pollen than control subjects who received 2 injections separated by 10 weeks (P < .01) or a single injection (P < .001) and showed induction of grass pollen-specific IgG antibodies. Suppression was observed whether late responses were measured on the arms or the back. However, early responses were equivalent in all groups. CONCLUSION: Low-dose intradermal allergen, like conventional subcutaneous high-dose immmunotherapy, suppresses allergen-induced cutaneous late responses in a manner that is allergen specific, systemic, and associated with induction of IgG antibodies.

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