House dust mite facilitates ovalbumin-specific allergic sensitization and airway inflammation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Aug 1;172(3):314-21. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200502-198OC. Epub 2005 May 5.


Rationale: Mouse models of allergic airway disease have greatly contributed to our understanding of disease induction and pathogenesis. Although these models typically investigate responses to a single antigen or allergen, humans are frequently exposed to a myriad of allergens, each with distinct antigenic potential.

Objectives: Given that airway exposure to ovalbumin (OVA), a prototypic innocuous antigen, induces inhalation tolerance, we wished to investigate how this response would be altered if OVA were encountered concurrently with a house dust mite extract (HDM), which we have recently shown is capable of eliciting a robust allergic airway inflammatory response that is mediated, at least in part, by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor.

Methods: Balb/c mice were exposed daily to HDM (intranasally) followed immediately by exposure to aerosolized OVA for 5 weeks. To allow the inflammatory response elicited by HDM to subside fully, mice were then allowed to rest, unexposed, for 8 weeks, at which time they were rechallenged with aerosolized OVA for 3 consecutive days.

Measurements and main results: At this time, we observed a robust eosinophilic inflammatory response in the lung that was associated with an increase in bronchial hyperreactivity. Moreover, we documented significantly elevated serum levels of OVA-specific IgE and IgG(1) and increased production of the Th2 cytokines interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-13 by splenocytes stimulated in vitro with OVA.

Conclusion: Our data demonstrate the potential of a potent allergen such as HDM to establish a lung microenvironment that fosters the development of allergic sensitization to otherwise weak or innocuous antigens, such as OVA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / adverse effects*
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Pyroglyphidae*


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin