Chronic cat-allergen exposure induces a TH2 cell-dependent IgG4 response related to low-sensitization

Renand A, Archila LD, McGinty J, Wambre E, Robinson D, Hales BJ, Thomas WR, Kwok WW.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2 015. 1627-1635(136)




In human subjects, allergen-tolerance has been observed after high dose allergen exposure or after completed allergen immunotherapy, which is related to the accumulation of anti-inflammatory IgG4. However, the specific T cell response that leads to the induction of IgG4 during chronic allergen exposure remains poorly understood.


To evaluate the relationship between cat allergen-specific T cell frequency, cat allergen-specific IgE and IgG4 titers and clinical status in cat allergic adults with and without cat ownership and the cellular mechanism by which IgG4 is produced.


Fel d 1, Fel d 4, Fel d 7 and Fel d 8- specific T cell responses were characterized by CD154 expression after antigen stimulation.


In allergic subjects without cat ownership, the frequency of cat allergen (Fel d 1 and Fel d 4) specific TH2 cells (sTH2 cells) correlates with IgE level and is linked to asthma. Paradoxically, we observed that cat allergic subjects with chronic cat exposure maintain high frequency of sTH2 cells, which correlates with IgG4 level and low-sensitization. B cells from allergic, but not from non-allergic subjects, are able to produce IgG4 after cognate interactions with sTH2 clones, and Fel d 1 peptide or the Fel d 1 recombinant protein.


These experiments suggest that 1) allergen-experienced B cells with capacity to produce IgG4 are present in allergic subjects; and 2) cat-allergen exposure induces an IgG4 response in a TH2 cell-dependent manner. Thus, IgG4 accumulation could be mediated by chronic activation of the TH2 response, which in turn drives desensitization.