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Research Article

Epicutaneous sensitization with protein antigen induces localized allergic dermatitis and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine after single exposure to aerosolized antigen in mice.

J M Spergel, E Mizoguchi, J P Brewer, T R Martin, A K Bhan and R S Geha

Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Published April 15, 1998

Our understanding of the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD) and its relationship to asthma remains incomplete. Herein, we describe a murine model of epicutaneous (EC) sensitization to the protein allergen, chicken egg albumin, ovalbumin (OVA), which results in a rise in total and OVA-specific serum IgE and leads to the development of a dermatitis characterized by infiltration of CD3(+) T cells, eosinophils, and neutrophils and by local expression of mRNA for the cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and interferon-gamma. A single exposure of the EC sensitized mice to aerosolized OVA induced eosinophilia in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and airway hyperresponsiveness to intravenous methacholine as assessed by measurement of pulmonary dynamic compliance (Cdyn). These results suggest a possible role for EC exposure to antigen in atopic dermatitis and in the development of allergic asthma.

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