A scientific team led by Dr. Stefanie Gilles, Dr. Isabelle Beck and Professor Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann (Member of the Board of Directors and Coordinator in Workpackage 1 of CK-CARE) from the university Department of Environmental Medicine, demonstrated in vivo the clinical relevance of low-molecular pollen compounds with the aid of skin prick tests and nasal provocation tests.
The researchers tested effects of allergens from birch and grass pollen with and without the addition of low-molecular pollen compounds
During the course of the study, skin prick tests and nasal provocation tests were performed on healthy and allergic subjects. Allergens from birch and grass pollen were used for the tests. The pollen allergens were prepared for testing either in a saline solution or with a low-molecular fraction of the pollen extract. The skin prick tests then produced a stronger allergic immune reaction (wheals, redness) when the low-molecular pollen fraction was added. In the nasal provocation tests, the low-molecular pollen compounds increased the local release of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and immunoglobulin E (IgE). Increased production of nasal discharge was observed in the study group in which the low-molecular pollen fraction was added. More severe runny nose and itchy eyes, an increased urge to sneeze and other intensified symptoms were also observed. Healthy subjects did not react measurably to the pollen compounds in the study neither in prick tests on the skin nor in nasal provocation tests.
The results of the study might alter allergy diagnostics and allergen-specific immunotherapy
With this pilot study, the research team led by Gilles has done crucial groundwork for future clinical trials, which should investigate in more depth the effects of low-molecular, non-allergenic compounds from pollen. Non-allergenic compounds might be of clinical relevance, especially in allergy diagnostics and in allergen-specific immunotherapy (“hyposensitization”) because pollen extracts are currently being used in these areas. Whether these extracts currently in use contain pro-inflammatory substances and in what quantities has not yet been adequately investigated.
The Publikation entitled “Pollen derived low molecular compounds enhance the human allergen specific immune response in vivo”, which appeared on 04.2016 in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy, will therefore be significant for future clinical research in the allergy field.