Allergic skin inflammation requires the influx of inflammatory cells into the skin. Extravasation of leukocytes into the skin requires interactions between endothelial selectins and their glycan ligands on the surface of leukocytes. Selectin-ligand formation requires the activity of several glycosyltransferases, including Fut7 In this report, we tested the importance of Fut7 for the development of allergic skin inflammation in the Stat6VT transgenic mouse model. We observed that Fut7 deficiency was protective but did not eliminate disease. Segregation of the data by gender of the parent that transmitted the Stat6VT transgene, but not by gender of the pups, which were analyzed for disease, revealed that the protective effects of Fut7 deficiency were significantly greater when dams were Stat6VT negative. In contrast, in mice from litters of Stat6VT+ dams, Fut7 deficiency resulted in only modest protection. These findings indicate that pups from atopic dams exhibit a greater propensity for allergic disease, similar to observations in humans, and that the effect of maternal atopy is due to enhanced selectin-independent mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment in their offspring. Together, these results demonstrate that Fut7 deficiency can be protective in a model of atopic dermatitis but that maternal atopy diminishes these protective effects, suggesting alternative pathways for leukocyte recruitment in the absence of Fut7 enzyme activity. These observations have implications for understanding how the environment in utero predisposes for the development of allergic disease.
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