Background: Epidemiological and experimental data suggest that bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) can either protect from or exacerbate allergic asthma. Lipopolysaccharides trigger immune responses through toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) that in turn activates two major signalling pathways via either MyD88 or TRIF adaptor proteins. The LPS is a pro-Type 1 T helper cells (Th1) adjuvant while aluminium hydroxide (alum) is a strong Type 2 T helper cells (Th2) adjuvant, but the effect of the mixing of both adjuvants on the development of lung allergy has not been investigated.
Objective: We determined whether natural (LPS) or synthetic (ER-803022) TLR4 agonists adsorbed onto alum adjuvant affect allergen sensitization and development of airway allergic disease. To dissect LPS-induced molecular pathways, we used TLR4-, MyD88-, TRIF-, or IL-12/IFN-gamma-deficient mice.
Methods: Mice were sensitized with subcutaneous injections of ovalbumin (OVA) with or without TLR4 agonists co-adsorbed onto alum and challenged with intranasally with OVA. The development of allergic lung disease was evaluated 24 h after last OVA challenge.
Results: Sensitization with OVA plus LPS co-adsorbed onto alum impaired in dose-dependent manner OVA-induced Th2-mediated allergic responses such as airway eosinophilia, type-2 cytokines secretion, airway hyper-reactivity, mucus hyper production and serum levels of IgE or IgG1 anaphylactic antibodies. Although the levels of IgG2a, Th1-affiliated isotype increased, investigation into the lung-specific effects revealed that LPS did not induce a Th1 pattern of inflammation. Lipopolysaccharides impaired the development of Th2 immunity, signaling via TLR4 and MyD88 molecules and via the IL-12/IFN-gamma axis, but not through TRIF pathway. Moreover, the synthetic TLR4 agonists that proved to have a less systemic inflammatory response than LPS also protected against allergic asthma development.
Conclusion: Toll-like receptor 4 agonists co-adsorbed with allergen onto alum down-modulate allergic lung disease and prevent the development of polarized T cell-mediated airway inflammation.