Arabinogalactan isolated from cowshed dust extract protects mice from allergic airway inflammation and sensitization

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Background: Extract from cowshed dust (CDE) is a source of immunomodulating substances. We have previously shown that such substances protect from experimental allergic disorders in a mouse model of asthma. Objective: The objective of this study was to identify immunomodulatory molecules in extracts of dust from an allergy protective farming environment. Methods: Polysaccharides were isolated from CDE and plants by chromatography and precipitation with specific reagents. Polysaccharides were then characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Subsequently, the allergy-protective potential of isolated polysaccharides was tested in a mouse model of asthma. Results: The authors demonstrate that plant arabinogalactans are contained in CDE in high concentrations. The source of this arabinogalactan is fodder, in particular a prevalent grass species known as Alopecurus pratensis. Treatment of murine dendritic cells with grass arabinogalactan resulted in autocrine IL-10 production. Interestingly, these dendritic cells were not able to induce an allergic immune response. Furthermore, intranasal application of grass arabinogalactan protected mice from developing atopic sensitization, allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperreactivity in a mouse model of allergic asthma. This allergy-protective effect is specific for grass arabinogalactan because control experiments with arabinogalactan from gum arabic and larch revealed that these molecules do not show allergy-protective properties. This is likely because of structural differences because we were able to show by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy that although they are predominantly composed of arabinose and galactose, the molecules differ in structure. Conclusions: The authors conclude that grass arabinogalactans are important immunomodulatory substances that contribute to the protection from allergic airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, and atopic sensitization in a mouse model of asthma. © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.




Peters, M., Kauth, M., Scherner, O., Gehlhar, K., Steffen, I., Wentker, P., … Bufe, A. (2010). Arabinogalactan isolated from cowshed dust extract protects mice from allergic airway inflammation and sensitization. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 126(3).

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