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posted on 15.12.2021, 04:23 authored by Piia Karisola, Kati Palosuo, Victoria Hinkkanen, Lukas Wisgrill, Terhi Savinko, Nanna Fyhrquist, Harri Alenius, Mika J. Mäkelä

We previously reported the results of a randomized, open-label trial of egg oral immunotherapy (OIT) in 50 children where 44% were desensitized and 46% were partially desensitized after 8 months of treatment. Here we focus on cell-mediated molecular mechanisms driving desensitization during egg OIT. We sought to determine whether changes in genome-wide gene expression in blood cells during egg OIT correlate with humoral responses and the clinical outcome. The blood cell transcriptome of 50 children receiving egg OIT was profiled using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples obtained at baseline and after 3 and 8 months of OIT. We identified 467 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) after 3 or 8 months of egg OIT. At 8 months, 86% of the DEGs were downregulated and played a role in the signaling of TREM1, IL-6, and IL-17. In correlation analyses, Gal d 1–4-specific IgG4 antibodies associated positively with DEGs playing a role in pathogen recognition and antigen presentation and negatively with DEGs playing a role in the signaling of IL-10, IL-6, and IL-17. Desensitized and partially desensitized patients had differences in their antibody responses, and although most of the transcriptomic changes were shared, both groups had also specific patterns, which suggest slower changes in partially desensitized and activation of NK cells in the desensitized group. OIT for egg allergy in children inhibits inflammation and activates innate immune responses regardless of the clinical outcome at 8 months. Changes in gene expression patterns first appear as posttranslational protein modifications, followed by more sustained epigenetic gene regulatory functions related to successful desensitization.

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