Preventive Administration of Non-Allergenic Bet v 1 Peptides Reduces Allergic Sensitization to Major Birch Pollen Allergen, Bet v 1

Oluwatoyin Akinfenwa, Huey-Jy Huang, Birgit Linhart, Margarete Focke-Tejkl, Susanne Vrtala, Alina Poroshina, Alexandra Nikonova, Musa Khaitov, Nicholas J Campion, Julia Eckl-Dorna, Verena Niederberger-Leppin, Bernhard Kratzer, Peter Anton Tauber, Winfried F Pickl, Michael Kundi, Raffaela Campana, Rudolf Valenta

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

9 Citations (Scopus)


IgE-mediated allergy to birch pollen affects more than 100 million patients world-wide. Bet v 1, a 17 kDa protein is the major allergen in birch pollen responsible for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma in birch pollen allergic patients. Allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) based on therapeutic administration of Bet v 1-containing vaccines is an effective treatment for birch pollen allergy but no allergen-specific forms of prevention are available. We developed a mouse model for IgE sensitization to Bet v 1 based on subcutaneous injection of aluminum-hydroxide adsorbed recombinant Bet v 1 and performed a detailed characterization of the specificities of the IgE, IgG and CD4+ T cell responses in sensitized mice using seven synthetic peptides of 31-42 amino acids length which comprised the Bet v 1 sequence and the epitopes recognized by human CD4+ T cells. We then demonstrate that preventive systemic administration of a mix of synthetic non-allergenic Bet v 1 peptides to 3-4 week old mice significantly reduced allergic immune responses, including IgE, IgG, IgE-mediated basophil activation, CD4+ T cell and IL-4 responses to the complete Bet v 1 allergen but not to the unrelated major grass pollen allergen Phl p 5, without inducing Bet v 1-specific allergic sensitization or adaptive immunity. Our results thus demonstrate that early preventive administration of non-allergenic synthetic T cell epitope-containing allergen peptides could be a safe strategy for the prevention of allergen-specific IgE sensitization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number744544
Pages (from-to)744544
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021


  • Animals
  • Antigens, Plant/immunology
  • Desensitization, Immunologic/methods
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology
  • Mice
  • Peptides/immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal/immunology


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