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Prevention of allergic conjunctivitis in mice by a rice-based edible vaccine containing modified Japanese cedar pollen allergens
  1. Ken Fukuda1,
  2. Waka Ishida1,
  3. Yosuke Harada1,
  4. Yuhya Wakasa2,
  5. Hidenori Takagi2,
  6. Fumio Takaiwa2,
  7. Atsuki Fukushima1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Kochi Medical School, Nankoku City, Kochi, Japan
  2. 2Functional Transgenic Crop Research Unit, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Ken Fukuda, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku City, Kochi 783-8505, Japan; k.fukuda{at}kochi-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Background/aims To determine whether oral immunotherapy with transgenic rice seeds expressing hypoallergenic modified antigens suppresses cedar pollen-induced allergic conjunctivitis by eliciting immune tolerance in mice.

Methods BALB/c mice were fed once a day for 20 days with 220 mg of transgenic rice expressing modified Japanese cedar pollen allergens Cry j 1 and Cry j 2 or with non-transgenic rice seeds as a control. They were then sensitised with two intraperitoneal injections of Japanese cedar pollen in alum before challenge twice with pollen in eye drops. Twenty-four hours after the second challenge, the conjunctiva, spleen, and blood were isolated for histological analysis, cytokine production assays, and measurement of serum immunoglobulin E concentrations, respectively.

Results The numbers of eosinophils and total inflammatory cells in the conjunctiva were significantly lower in mice fed the transgenic rice than in those fed non-transgenic rice. The clinical score evaluated at 15 min after antigen challenge was also significantly lower in mice fed the transgenic rice than in those fed non-transgenic rice. The serum concentrations of both total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E were also significantly lower in mice fed the transgenic rice. Oral vaccination with transgenic rice resulted in significant down-regulation of the allergen-induced production of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-12p70, interferon-γ, and IL-17A by splenocytes.

Conclusions Oral immunotherapy with transgenic rice expressing modified Japanese cedar pollen allergens suppressed pollen-induced experimental allergic conjunctivitis in mice by eliciting immune tolerance. This novel prophylactic approach is potentially safe and effective for allergen-specific oral immunotherapy in allergic conjunctivitis.

  • Conjunctiva
  • Immunology
  • Ocular surface
  • Treatment other

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