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October 2021

Heterogeneity of pollen food allergy syndrome in seven Southern European countries: The @IT.2020 multicenter study

Lipp T, Acar ┼×ahin A, Aggelidis X, et al.

Background: Pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS) is a frequently underdiagnosed disease due to diverse triggers, clinical presentations, and test results. This is especially relevant in geographic areas with a broad spectrum of pollen sensitization, such as Southern Europe.

Objectives: To elucidate similarities and differences of PFAS in nine Southern European centers and identify associated characteristics and unique markers of PFAS.

Methods: As part of the @IT.2020 Multicenter Study, 815 patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), aged 10–60 years, were recruited in seven countries. They completed questionnaires regarding SAR, comorbidities, family history, and PFAS, and underwent skin prick testing (SPT) and serum IgE testing.

Results: Of the 815 patients, 167 (20.5%) reported PFAS reactions. Most commonly, eliciting foods were kiwi (58, 34.7%), peach (43, 25.7%), and melon (26, 15.6%). Reported reactions were mostly local (216/319, 67.7%), occurring within 5 min of contact with elicitors (209/319, 65.5%). Associated characteristics included positive IgE to at least one panallergen (profilin, PR-10, or nsLTP) (p = 0.007), maternal PFAS (OR: 3.716, p = 0.026), and asthma (OR: 1.752, p = 0.073). Between centers, heterogeneity in prevalence (Marseille: 7.5% vs. Rome: 41.4%, p < 0.001) and of clinical characteristics was apparent. Cypress played a limited role, with only 1/22 SPT mono-sensitized patients reporting a food reaction (p < 0.073).

Conclusions: PFAS is a frequent comorbidity in Southern European SAR patients. Significant heterogeneity of clinical characteristics in PFAS patients among the centers was observed and may be related to the different pollen sensitization patterns in each geographic area. IgE to panallergen(s), maternal PFAS, and asthma could be PFAS-associated characteristics.


CytoBas: Precision component-resolved diagnostics for allergy using flow cytometric staining of basophils with recombinant allergen tetramers

McKenzie CI, Varese N, Aui PM, et al.

Background: Diagnostic tests for allergy rely on detecting allergen-specific IgE. Component-resolved diagnostics incorporate multiple defined allergen components to improve the quality of diagnosis and patient care.

Objective: To develop a new approach for determining sensitization to specific allergen components that utilizes fluorescent protein tetramers for direct staining of IgE on blood basophils by flow cytometry.

Methods: Recombinant forms of Lol p 1 and Lol p 5 proteins from ryegrass pollen (RGP) and Api m 1 from honeybee venom (BV) were produced, biotinylated, and tetramerized with streptavidin-fluorochrome conjugates. Blood samples from 50 RGP-allergic, 41 BV-allergic, and 26 controls were incubated with fluorescent protein tetramers for flow cytometric evaluation of basophil allergen binding and activation.

Results: Allergen tetramers bound to and activated basophils from relevant allergic patients but not controls. Direct fluorescence staining of Api m 1 and Lol p 1 tetramers had greater positive predictive values than basophil activation for BV and RGP allergy, respectively, as defined with receiver operator characteristics (ROC) curves. Staining intensities of allergen tetramers correlated with allergen-specific IgE levels in serum. Inclusion of multiple allergens coupled with distinct fluorochromes in a single-tube assay enabled rapid detection of sensitization to both Lol p 1 and Lol p 5 in RGP-allergic patients and discriminated between controls, BV-allergic, and RGP-allergic patients.

Conclusion: Our novel flow cytometric assay, termed CytoBas, enables rapid and reliable detection of clinically relevant allergic sensitization. The intensity of fluorescent allergen tetramer staining of basophils has a high positive predictive value for disease, and the assay can be multiplexed for a component-resolved and differential diagnostic test for allergy.

Symptoms of mast cell activation: the patient perspective

Jennings S.V, Slee V.M, et. al.


Prenatal paraben exposure and atopic dermatitis-related outcomes among children

Thürmann L, Herberth G, Seiwert B, et al.

Background: Parabens, widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, foods, and other consumer products, are suspected of contributing to allergy susceptibility. The detection of parabens in the placenta or amniotic fluid raised concerns about potential health consequences for the child. Recently, an increased asthma risk following prenatal exposure has been reported. Here, we investigated whether prenatal paraben exposure can influence the risk for atopic dermatitis (AD).

Methods: 261 mother-child pairs of the German mother-child study LINA were included in this analysis. Eight paraben species were quantified in maternal urine obtained at gestational week 34. According to the parental report of physician-diagnosed AD from age 1 to 8 years, disease onset, and persistence, childhood AD was classified into four different phenotypes.

Results: 4.6% (n = 12) and 12.3% (n = 32) of the children were classified as having very early-onset AD (until age two) either with or without remission, 11.9% (n = 31) as early-onset (after age two), and 3.1% (n = 8) as childhood-onset AD (after age six). Exposure to ethylparaben and n-butylparaben was associated with an increased risk to develop very early-onset AD without remission (EtP: adj.OR/95% CI:1.44/1.04–2.00, nBuP:adj. OR/95% CI:1.95/1.22–3.12). The effects of both parabens were predominant in children without a history of maternal AD and independent of children's sex.

Conclusion: Prenatal EtP or nBuP exposure may increase children's susceptibility for persistent AD with disease onset at very early age. This association was particularly pronounced in children without a history of maternal AD, indicating that children without a genetic predisposition are more susceptible to paraben exposure.


Predictors of treatment response in chronic spontaneous urticaria

Fok JS, Kolkhir P, Church MK, Maurer M.

Abstract: The current therapeutic algorithm for chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), endorsed by the international guideline, entails treatment escalation from second-generation H1-antihistamines (sgAHs) to omalizumab and cyclosporine until complete response is achieved. Recently, several predictors of response to these treatment options have been described. Here, we discuss the most promising predictors of response and nonresponse to these treatments in CSU. A systematic search was performed by two independent researchers using the MEDLINE/PubMed database with specific keywords and 73 studies included in the review. Levels of evidence were categorized as strong (robust predictors), weak (emerging predictors) or no association, based on the outcome and number of studies available. High disease activity, high levels of C-reactive protein and D-dimer are robust predictors for a poor or no response to sgAHs. Poor or no response to omalizumab is robustly predicted by low serum levels of total IgE. A good response to cyclosporine is robustly predicted by a positive basophil histamine release assay, whereas low total IgE is an emerging predictor. The response to treatment with sgAHs, omalizumab and cyclosporine can be predicted by the use of markers that are readily available


Markers for the involvement of endothelial cells and the coagulation system in chronic urticaria: A systematic review

Mostmans Y, De Smedt K, Richert B, Elieh Ali Komi D, Maurer M, Michel O

Abstract: Chronic urticaria (CU) is a chronic inflammatory mast cell-driven disorder. Endothelial cells (ECs) contribute importantly to key features of CU. Several markers of EC (dys) function in CU have been reported, but have not yet been systematically reviewed. In this study, we systematically reviewed and categorized all published markers of EC functions in CU through a comprehensive search in Pubmed, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and SCOPUS using the following Mesh terms: CU AND pathogenesis AND (vasculopathy OR microangiopathy OR ECs OR marker). In total, 79 articles were selected and the identified biomarkers were categorized according to EC (dys)function in CU. The most frequent and consistently reported upregulated biomarkers in CU skin were adhesion molecules, TF, and P selectin. The most frequently reported upregulated and reliable biomarkers in sera of CU patients were F1+2 for coagulation cascade involvement, D-dimers for fibrinolysis, and MMP-9 for vascular permeability. Emerging biomarkers described in the selected articles were endostatin, heat shock proteins, cleaved high molecular weight kininogen, and adipokines. This systematic review contributes to the pool of growing evidence for vascular involvement in CU where EC dysfunction is present in different aspects of cell survival, maintenance of vascular structure, and coagulation/fibrinolysis balance.


Eczema herpeticum in atopic dermatitis

Traidl S, Roesner L, Zeitvogel J, Werfel T.

Abstract: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases leading to pruritic skin lesions. A subset of AD patients exhibits a disseminated severe HSV infection called eczema herpeticum (EH) that can cause life-threatening complications. This review gives an overview of the clinical picture, and characteristics of the patients as well as the diagnosis and therapy of EH. A special focus lies on the pathophysiological hallmarks identified so far that predispose for EH. This aspect covers genetic aberrations, immunological changes, and environmental influences displaying a complex multifactorial situation, which is not completely understood. Type 2 skewing of virus-specific T cells in ADEH+ patients has been implicated in immune profile abnormalities, along with impaired functions of dendritic cells and natural killer cells. Furthermore, aberrations in interferon pathway-related genes such as IFNG and IFNGR1 have been identified to increase the risk of EH. IL-4, IL-25, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are overexpressed in EH, whereas antimicrobial peptides like human β-defensins and LL-37 are reduced. Concerning the epidermal barrier, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in skin barrier proteins such as filaggrin were identified in ADEH+ patients. A dysbalance of the skin microbiome also contributes to EH due to an increase of Staphylococcus aureus, which provides a supporting role to the viral infection via secreted toxins such as α-toxin. The risk of EH is reduced in AD patients treated with dupilumab. Further research is needed to identify and specifically target risk factors for EH in AD patients.


Free human DNA attenuates the activity of antimicrobial peptides in atopic dermatitis

Kopfnagel V, Dreyer S, Zeitvogel J, et al.

Background: The high susceptibility of AD patients to microbial skin infections has been attributed to a deficient antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression, which is contradicted by a growing amount of recent studies clearly demonstrating that AMP expression is not impaired in lesional skin of AD patients. The reasons for the high susceptibility of AD patients to microbial infections are still unknown.

Methods: The influence of self-DNA on the antimicrobial activity of RNase 7, LL-37, and hBD2 has been investigated using antibacterial and antiviral assays. The amount of self-DNA on skin has been analyzed by skin rinsings and subsequent quantification using dsDNA assays. DNA source was identified by qPCR.

Results: Complex formation of the AMPs with self-DNA significantly impaired their antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and their antiviral activity against HSV-1. The inhibition of the antibacterial activity was dependent on the DNA concentration but not on the length of the DNA molecules. Of note, we detected significant higher amounts of cell-free self-DNA in skin rinses taken from lesional AD skin compared to skin rinses from non-lesional skin and from normal skin of healthy donors.


Management of anaphylaxis due to COVID-19 vaccines in the elderly

Bousquet J, Agache I, Blain H, et al.

Abstract: Older adults, especially men and/or those with diabetes, hypertension, and/or obesity,are prone to severe COVID-19. In some countries, older adults, particularly those residing in nursing homes, have been prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccines due to high risk of death. In very rare instances, the COVID-19 vaccines can induce anaphylaxis, and the management of anaphylaxis in older people should be considered carefully. An ARIA-EAACI-EuGMS (Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and European Geriatric Medicine Society) Working Group has proposed some recommendations for older adults receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. Anaphylaxis to COVID-19 vaccines is extremely rare (from 1 per 100,000 to 5 per million injections). Symptoms are similar in younger and older adults but they tend to be more severe in the older patients. Adrenaline is the mainstay treatment and should be readily available. A flowchart is proposed to manage anaphylaxis in the older patients.


Interleukin-31: The “itchy” cytokine in inflammation and therapy

Datsi A, Steinhoff M, Ahmad F, Alam M, Buddenkotte J.

Abstract: The cytokine interleukin-31 has been implicated in the pathophysiology of multiple atopic disorders such as atopic dermatitis (AD), allergic rhinitis, and airway hyper-reactivity. In AD, IL-31 has been identified as one of the main “drivers” of its cardinal symptom, pruritus. Here, we summarize the mechanisms by which IL-31 modulates inflammatory and allergic diseases. TH2 cells play a central role in AD and release high levels of TH2-associated cytokines including IL-31, thereby mediating inflammatory responses, initiating immunoregulatory circuits, stimulating itch, and neuronal outgrowth through activation of the heterodimeric receptor IL-31 receptor A (IL31RA)/ Oncostatin M receptor (OSMRβ). IL31RA expression is found on human and murine dorsal root ganglia neurons, epithelial cells including keratinocytes and various innate immune cells. IL-31 is a critical cytokine involved in neuroimmune communication, which opens new avenues for cytokine modulation in neuroinflammatory diseases including AD/pruritus, as validated by recent clinical trials using an anti-IL- 31 antibody. Accordingly, inhibition of IL-31- downstream signaling may be a beneficial approach for

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