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November 2021

A new era of atopic eczema research: Advances and highlights

Hülpüsch C, Weins AB, Traidl-Hoffmann C, Reiger M.

Abstract: Atopic eczema (AE) is an inflammatory skin disease with involvement of genetic, immunological and environmental factors. One hallmark of AE is a skin barrier disruption on multiple, highly interconnected levels: filaggrin mutations, increased skin pH and a microbiome dysbiosis towards Staphylococcus aureus overgrowth are observed in addition to an abnormal type 2 immune response. Extrinsic factors seem to play a major role in the development of AE. As AE is a first step in the atopic march, its prevention and appropriate treatment are essential. Although standard therapy remains topical treatment, powerful systemic treatment options emerged in the last years. However, thorough endotyping of the individual patients is still required for ideal precision medicine approaches in future. Therefore, novel microbial and immunological biomarkers were described recently for the prediction of disease development and treatment response. This review summarizes the current state of the art in AE research


Advances in allergen-specific immune cell measurements for improved detection of allergic sensitization and immunotherapy responses

van Zelm MC, McKenzie CI, Varese N, Rolland JM, O’Hehir RE. 

Abstract: Over the past two decades, precision medicine has advanced diagnostics and treatment of allergic diseases. Component-resolved analysis of allergen sensitization facilitates stratification of patients. Furthermore, new formulations of allergen immunotherapy (AIT) products can more effectively deliver the relevant components. Molecular insights from the identification of allergen component sensitization and clinical outcomes of treatment with new AIT formulations can now be utilized for a deeper understanding of the nature of the pathogenic immune response in allergy and how this can be corrected by AIT. Fundamental in these processes are the allergen-specific B and T cells. Within the large B-and T-cell compartments, only those that specifically recognize the allergen with their immunoglobulin (Ig) or T-cell receptor (TCR), respectively, are of clinical relevance. With peripheral blood allergen-specific B-and T-cell frequencies below 1%, bulk cell analysis is typically insufficiently sensitive. We here review the latest technologies to detect allergen-specific B and T cells, as well as new developments in utilizing these tools for diagnostics and therapy monitoring to advance precision medicine for allergic diseases.


Advances and highlights in asthma in 2021

Agache I, Eguiluz-Gracia I, Cojanu C, et al.

Abstract: Last year brought a significant advance in asthma management, unyielding to the pressure of the pandemics. Novel key findings in asthma pathogenesis focus on the resident cell compartment, epigenetics and the innate immune system. The precision immunology unbiased approach was supplemented with novel tools and greatly facilitated by the use of artificial intelligence. Several randomised clinical trials and good quality real-world evidence shed new light on asthma treatment and supported the revision of several asthma guidelines (GINA, Expert Panel Report 3, ERS/ATS guidelines on severe asthma) and the conception of new ones (EAACI Guidelines for the use of biologicals in severe asthma). Integrating asthma management within the broader context of Planetary Health has been put forward. In this review, recently published articles and clinical trials are summarised and discussed with the goal to provide clinicians and researchers with a concise update on asthma research from a translational perspective.


Allergenic components of the mRNA-1273 vaccine for COVID-19: Possible involvement of polyethylene glycol and IgG-mediated complement activation

Klimek L, Novak N, Cabanillas B, Jutel M, Bousquet J, Akdis CA.

Abstract: Following the emergency use authorization of the mRNA-1273 vaccine on the 18th of December 2020, two mRNA vaccines are in current use for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For both mRNA vaccines, the phase III pivotal trials excluded individuals with a history of allergy to vaccine components. Immediately after the initiation of vaccination in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, anaphylactic reactions were reported. While the culprit trigger requires investigation, initial reports suggested the excipient polyethylene glycol 2000 (PEG-2000)—contained in both vaccines as the PEG-micellar carrier system—as the potential culprit. Surface PEG chains form a hydrate shell to increase stability and prevent opsonization. Allergic reactions to such PEGylated lipids can be IgE-mediated, but may also result from complement activation-related pseudoallergy (CARPA) that has been described in similar liposomes. In addition, mRNA-1273 also contains tromethamine (trometamol), which has been reported to cause anaphylaxis to substances such as gadolinium-based contrast media. Skin prick, intradermal and epicutaneous tests, in vitro sIgE assessment, evaluation of sIgG/IgM, and basophil activation tests are being used to demonstrate allergic reactions to various components of the vaccines.


Dangerous liaisons: Bacteria, antimicrobial therapies, and allergic diseases

Tramper-Stranders G, Ambro┼╝ej D, Arcolaci A, et al.

Abstract: Microbiota composition and associated metabolic activities are essential for the education and development of a healthy immune system. Microbial dysbiosis, caused by risk factors such as diet, birth mode, or early infant antimicrobial therapy, is associated with the inception of allergic diseases. In turn, allergic diseases increase the risk for irrational use of antimicrobial therapy. Microbial therapies, such as probiotics, have been studied in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases, but evidence remains limited due to studies with high heterogeneity, strain-dependent effectiveness, and variable outcome measures. In this review, we sketch the relation of microbiota with allergic diseases, the overuse and rationale for the use of antimicrobial agents in allergic diseases, and current knowledge concerning the use of bacterial products in allergic diseases. We urgently recommend 1) limiting antibiotic therapy in pregnancy and early childhood as a method contributing to the reduction of the allergy epidemic in children and 2) restricting antibiotic therapy in exacerbations and chronic treatment of allergic diseases, mainly concerning asthma and atopic dermatitis. Future research should be aimed at antibiotic stewardship implementation strategies and biomarker-guided therapy, discerning those patients that might benefit from antibiotic therapy.


Characteristics of tissue–resident ILCs and their potential as therapeutic targets in mucosal and skin inflammatory diseases

Orimo K, Tamari M, Saito H, Matsumoto K, Nakae S, Morita H.

Abstract: Discovery of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which are non–T and non–B lymphocytes that have no antigen-specific receptors, changed the classical concept of the mechanism of allergy, which had been explained mainly as antigen-specific acquired immunity based on IgE and Th2 cells. The discovery led to dramatic improvement in our understanding of the mechanism of non–IgE-mediated allergic inflammation. Numerous studies conducted in the past decade have elucidated the characteristics of each ILC subset in various organs and tissues and their ontogeny. We now know that each ILC subset exhibits heterogeneity. Moreover, the functions and activating/ suppressing factors of each ILC subset were found to differ among both organs and types of tissue. Therefore, in this review, we summarize our current knowledge of ILCs by focusing on the organ/tissue-specific features of each subset to understand their roles in various organs. We also discuss ILCs’ involvement in human inflammatory diseases in various organs and potential therapeutic/preventive strategies that target ILCs.


Highlights in the advances of chronic rhinosinusitis

Xu X, Reitsma S, Wang DY, Fokkens WJ.

Abstract: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a complex upper airway inflammatory disease with a broad spectrum of clinical variants. As our understanding of the disease pathophysiology evolves, so too does our philosophy towards the approach and management of CRS. Endotyping is gaining favour over phenotype-based classifications, owing to its potential in prognosticating disease severity and delivering precision treatment. Endotyping is especially useful in challenging CRS with nasal polyposis cases, for whom novel treatment options such as biologicals are now available. The latest European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps (EPOS2020) reflects these changes with updated rhinosinusitis classifications and new integrated care pathways. With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, physicians and rhinologists have to balance the responsibility of managing their patients’ upper airway while adequately protecting themselves from droplet and aerosol transmission. This review summarises the key updates from EPOS2020, endotype-based classification and biomarkers. The role of biologicals in CRS and the lessons we can draw from their use in severe asthma will be examined. Finally, the principles of CRS management
during COVID-19 will also be discussed.


Role of nanostructures in allergy: Diagnostics, treatments and safety

Mayorga C, Perez-Inestrosa E, Rojo J, Ferrer M, Montañez MI.

Abstract: Nanotechnology is science, engineering and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1–100 nm. It has led to the development of nanomaterials, which behave very differently from materials with larger scales and can have a wide range of applications in biomedicine. The physical and chemical properties of materials of such small compounds depend mainly on the size, shape, composition and functionalization of the system. Nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, liposomes, polymers, dendrimers and nanogels, among others, can be nanoengineeried for controlling all parameters, including their functionalization with ligands, which provide the desired interaction with the immunological system, that is dendritic cell receptors to activate and/or modulate the response, as well as specific IgE, or effector cell receptors. However, undesired issues related to toxicity and hypersensitivity responses can also happen and would need evaluation. There are wide panels of accessible structures, and controlling their physico-chemical properties would permit obtaining safer and more efficient compounds for clinical applications goals, either in diagnosis or treatment. The application of dendrimeric antigens, nanoallergens and nanoparticles in allergy diagnosis is very promising since it can improve sensitivity by increasing specific IgE binding, mimicking carrier proteins or enhancing signal detection. Additionally, in the case of immunotherapy, glycodendrimers, liposomes, polymers and nanoparticles
have shown interest, behaving as platforms of allergenic structures, adjuvants or protectors of allergen from degradation or having a depot capacity. Taken together, the application of nanotechnology to allergy shows promising facts facing important goals related to the improvement of diagnosis as well as specific immunotherapy.


Advances and highlights in allergic rhinitis

Zhang Y, Lan F, Zhang L. 

Abstract: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a growing public health, medical and economic problem worldwide. The current review describes the major discoveries related to AR during the past 2 years, including risk factors for the prevalence of AR, the corresponding diagnostic strategy, precise underlying immunological mechanisms, and efficient therapies for AR during the ongoing global “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19) pandemic. The review further attempts to highlight future research perspectives. Increasing evidence suggests that environmental exposures, climate changes, and lifestyle are important risk factors for AR. Consequently, detailed investigation of the exposome and the connection between environmental exposures and health in the future should provide better risk profiles instead of single predictors, and also help mitigate adverse health outcomes in allergic diseases. Although patients with dual AR, a newly defined AR phenotype, display perennial and seasonal allergens-related nasal symptoms, they are only allergic to seasonal allergens, indicating the importance of measuring inflammation at the local sites. Herein, we suggest that a combination of precise diagnosis in local sites and traditional diagnostic methods may enhance the precision medicine-based approach for management of AR; however, this awaits further investigations. Apart from traditional treatments, social distancing, washing hands, and disinfection are also required to better manage AR patients in the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite recent advances in understanding the immune mechanisms underlying the effects of allergen immunotherapy (AIT), further understanding changes of cell profiles after AIT and accurately evaluate the efficacy of AIT are required.

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