Immunologic responses to conjugates of antigen E in patients with ragweed hay fever

Philip S. Norman, T. P. King, Joseph F. Alexander, Anne Kagey-Sobotka, Lawrence M. Lichtenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Allergens conjugated with several simple repeating polymers have reduced allergenicity in man, but large doses retain the ability to suppress ongoing allergen-specific IgE synthesis in strains of high-responder mice. To determine whether suppression of IgE antibodies could be induced in man, preliminary trials of immunologic responses to conjugates in man were carried out in ragweed hay fever patients treated with antigen E (AgE) coupled to methoxypolyethylene glycols (MPEGs) of 5000 and 2000 daltons, lauryloxypolyethylene glycol of 1200 daltons, and a random copolymer of d-lysine and d-glutamic acid of 69,000 daltons. In varying degrees all these conjugates had reduced allergenicity by basophil histamine release when these conjugates were compared with native AgE and could suppress IgE response in mice. Patients received one of these conjugates or native AgE in a series of subcutaneous injections and were observed for allergic reactions. The conjugates induced a lower rate of systemic reaction than native AgE but failed to induce early suppression of IgE antibodies. Instead, early rises in IgE antibody occurred in the several groups and were followed by a slow decline during a year or more that was similar to that observed with standard immunotherapy. Because the conjugates eventually caused local and systemic allergic reactions as the dose was raised, it was not possible to test the IgE-suppressive effects at doses similar to those used in mice. In contrast, rapid sustained rises in IgG antibodies occurred in all groups. The MPEG conjugates appeared to be more effective than native AgE in this regard. The reduced rate of systemic reaction and rapid rise in IgG antibody that was noted with MPEG conjugates make them worth further exploration as agents for immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-789
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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