Improved efficacy of oral immunotherapy using non-digestible oligosaccharides in a murine cow's milk allergy model: A potential role for Foxp3+ regulatory T cells

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Abstract

© 2017 Vonk, Diks, Wagenaar, Smit, Pieters, Garssen, van Esch and Knippels. Background: Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a promising therapeutic approach to treat food allergic patients. However, there are some concerns regarding its safety and long-term efficacy. The use of non-digestible oligosaccharides might improve OIT efficacy since they are known to directly modulate intestinal epithelial and immune cells in addition to acting as prebiotics. Aim: To investigate whether a diet supplemented with plant-derived fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) supports the efficacy of OIT in a murine cow's milk allergy model and to elucidate the potential mechanisms involved. Methods: After oral sensitization to the cow's milk protein whey, female C3H/HeOuJ mice were fed either a control diet or a diet supplemented with FOS (1% w/w) and received OIT (10 mg whey) 5 days a week for 3 weeks by gavage. Intradermal (i.d.) and intragastric (i.g.) challenges were performed to measure acute allergic symptoms and mast cell degranulation. Blood and organs were collected to measure antibody levels and T cell and dendritic cell populations. Spleen-derived T cell fractions (whole spleen- and CD25-depleted) were transferred to naïve recipient mice to confirm the involvement of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in allergy protection induced by OIT + FOS. Results: OIT + FOS decreased acute allergic symptoms and mast cell degranulation upon challenge and prevented the challenge-induced increase in whey-specific IgE as observed in sensitized mice. Early induction of Tregs in the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) of OIT + FOS mice coincided with reduced T cell responsiveness in splenocyte cultures. CD25 depletion in OIT + FOS-derived splenocyte suspensions prior to transfer abolished protection against signs of anaphylaxis in recipients. OIT + FOS increased serum galectin-9 levels. No differences in short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) levels in the cecum were observed between the treatment groups. Concisely, FOS supplementation significantly improved OIT in the acute allergic skin response, %Foxp3+ Tregs and %LAP+ Th3 cells in MLN, and serum galectin-9 levels. Conclusion: FOS supplementation improved the efficacy of OIT in cow's milk allergic mice. Increased levels of Tregs in the MLN and abolished protection against signs of anaphylaxis upon transfer of CD25-depleted cell fractions, suggest a role for Foxp3+ Tregs in the protective effect of OIT + FOS.

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Vonk, M. M., Diks, M. A. P., Wagenaar, L., Smit, J. J., Pieters, R. H. H., Garssen, J., … Knippels, L. M. J. (2017). Improved efficacy of oral immunotherapy using non-digestible oligosaccharides in a murine cow’s milk allergy model: A potential role for Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Frontiers in Immunology, 8(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01230

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