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The Use of Microbes and Their Products in Allergy Prevention and Therapy

  • Paolo Maria Matricardi
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 6)

Abstract

Epidemiological and experimental studies have led to the hypothesis that stimulation of the immune system by certain microbial products may prevent or treat allergic diseases. The effects of probiotics, mycobacteria, oligodesoxynucleotides (ISS-ODN), engineered bacteria, lipopolysaccharide derived molecules and helminthic products against allergic diseases have been therefore actively investigated. The term "Probiotics" is referred to living or inactivated organisms that are claimed to exert beneficial effects on health when ingested. The probiotics most commonly used against allergic diseases are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Natural exposure to environmental mycobacteria has been suggested as being able to promote Th1-type cytokine responses and has, therefore, been suggested to possibly prevent allergy. It has been hypothesized that administration of saprophytic mycobacteria in childhood could therefore help to prevent or treat allergy. Bacterial and viral genomic DNA is enriched, compared to that of mammals, in unmethylated sequences of cytosine and guanine (CpG motifs). These motifs are recognized by the innate immune system through the Toll-Like-Receptor-9. This stimulation is able to prevent and treat allergic reactions in animal models, and has been tested in trials in humans. Lipopolysaccharide derivatives are molecules obtained by modification of LPS isolated by the outer membranes of gram negative bacteria. A molecule originated from LPS of Salmonella minnesota R595, the Monophosphoryl Lipid A (MPL), has been proposed as an adjuvant for vaccine antigens, and utilized in trials against allergic diseases. Larvae of Trichuris suis have been successfully used to treat an immune disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease, associated with a disregulation of the immune response at intestinal level and is being examined as a therapy against respiratory allergies. Unfortunately, the outcomes of many of the attempts to translate the hygiene hypothesis in preventive and therapeutic strategies are quite discouraging. The reason for disappointing effects may be our lack of clear understanding of all the events preceding and causing allergic diseases.

Keywords

Atopic Dermatitis Allergic Disease Allergy Clin Immunol Allergic Conjunctivitis Peanut Protein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Pneumology and ImmunologyCharité – UniversitätsmedizinBerlinGermany

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