Th2-skewed T cells correlate with B cell response to α-Gal and tick antigens in α-Gal syndrome

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Abstract

Tick bites have been shown to transmit a novel form of severe food allergy, the galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal) syndrome (AGS). Cellular responses to α-Gal in patients with AGS have, to date, not been thoroughly scrutinized. Therefore, we investigated T and B cell proliferation, activation, and cytokine profiles in response to tick protein extract (TE) and α-Gal-free TE in patients with AGS and in healthy controls. T and B cells from both patients and controls proliferated in response to TE, but significantly more in patients with AGS. B cell proliferation, but not T cell proliferation, in patients with AGS was reduced by removing α-Gal from the TE. In addition, TE induced a clear Th2 cytokine profile in patients with AGS. Expression of CD23 by B cells correlated only to T cell proliferation. However, both B cell proliferation and CD23 expression were reduced when CD40L and IL-4 were blocked. A large portion of the IgG1 and IgE antibodies binding TE in patients with AGS were directed against the α-Gal epitope. We have, for what we believe to be the first time, investigated T and B cell responses to α-Gal carrying tick proteins in patients with AGS, which will be essential for the understanding of the immune response against an allergenic carbohydrate transmitted by ticks. Copyright:

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Apostolovic, D., Grundström, J., Gea Kiewiet, M. B., Perusko, M., Hamsten, C., Starkhammar, M., … Van Hage, M. (2023). Th2-skewed T cells correlate with B cell response to α-Gal and tick antigens in α-Gal syndrome. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 133(6). https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI158357

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