Oral gene delivery with chitosan--DNA nanoparticles generates immunologic protection in a murine model of peanut allergy

Nat Med. 1999 Apr;5(4):387-91. doi: 10.1038/7385.


Food allergy is a common and often fatal disease with no effective treatment. We describe here a new immunoprophylactic strategy using oral allergen-gene immunization to modulate peanut antigen-induced murine anaphylactic responses. Oral administration of DNA nanoparticles synthesized by complexing plasmid DNA with chitosan, a natural biocompatible polysaccharide, resulted in transduced gene expression in the intestinal epithelium. Mice receiving nanoparticles containing a dominant peanut allergen gene (pCMVArah2) produced secretory IgA and serum IgG2a. Compared with non-immunized mice or mice treated with 'naked' DNA, mice immunized with nanoparticles showed a substantial reduction in allergen-induced anaphylaxis associated with reduced levels of IgE, plasma histamine and vascular leakage. These results demonstrate that oral allergen-gene immunization with chitosan-DNA nanoparticles is effective in modulating murine anaphylactic responses, and indicate its prophylactic utility in treating food allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 2S Albumins, Plant
  • Administration, Oral
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Arachis / genetics
  • Arachis / immunology*
  • Chitin / administration & dosage
  • Chitin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chitin / therapeutic use
  • Chitosan
  • DNA, Plant / administration & dosage
  • DNA, Plant / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Plant
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Histamine / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred AKR
  • Particle Size
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Vaccines, DNA / therapeutic use*


  • 2S Albumins, Plant
  • Antibodies
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Ara h II protein, Arachis hypogaea
  • DNA, Plant
  • Glycoproteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Chitin
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Histamine
  • Chitosan