Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B facilitates allergic sensitization in experimental asthma

Clin Exp Allergy. 2010 Jul;40(7):1079-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2010.03464.x. Epub 2010 Mar 1.


Background: Staphylococcus aureus Enterotoxin B (SEB) has immunomodulatory effects in allergic airway disease. The potential contribution of SEB to the sensitization process to allergens remains obscure.

Objective: In order to study the effects of staphylococcal-derived toxins on the sensitization to ovalbumin (OVA) and induction of allergic airway inflammation, we have combined the nasal application of OVA with different toxins.

Methods: Nasal applications of OVA and saline, SEA, SEB, toxic shock syndrome toxin (TSST)-1, protein A or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were performed on alternate days from day 0 till 12. On day 14, mice were killed for the evaluation of OVA-specific IgE, cytokine production by mediastinal lymph node (MLN) cells and bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) to inhaled metacholine. The effect of SEB on dendritic cell (DC) migration and maturation, and on T cell proliferation was evaluated.

Results: Concomitant endonasal application of OVA and SEB resulted in OVA-specific IgE production, whereas this was not found with SEA, TSST-1, protein A, LPS or OVA alone. Increased DC maturation and migration to the draining lymph nodes were observed in OVA/SEB mice, as well as an increased T cell proliferation. Bronchial inflammation with an influx of eosinophils and lymphocytes was demonstrated in OVA/SEB mice, together with hyperresponsiveness and the production of IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13 by MLN stimulated with OVA.

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that SEB facilitates sensitization to OVA and consecutive bronchial inflammation with features of allergic asthma. This is likely due to augmentation of DC migration and maturation, as well as the allergen-specific T cell proliferation upon concomitant OVA and SEB application.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / prevention & control*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enterotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C


  • Enterotoxins
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal