Biodegradable antigen-associated PLG nanoparticles tolerize Th2-mediated allergic airway inflammation pre- and postsensitization

Charles B. Smarr, Woon Teck Yap, Tobias P. Neef, Ryan M. Pearson, Zoe N. Hunter, Igal Ifergan, Daniel R. Getts, Paul J. Bryce, Lonnie D. Shea, Stephen D. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Specific immunotherapy (SIT) is the most widely used treatment for allergic diseases that directly targets the T helper 2 (Th2) bias underlying allergy. However, the most widespread clinical applications of SIT require a long period of dose escalation with soluble antigen (Ag) and carry a significant risk of adverse reactions, particularly in highly sensitized patients who stand to benefit most from a curative treatment. Thus, the development of safer, more efficient methods to induce Ag-specific immune tolerance is critical to advancing allergy treatment. We hypothesized that antigenassociated nanoparticles (Ag-NPs), which we have used to prevent and treat Th1/Th17-mediated autoimmune disease, would also be effective for the induction of tolerance in a murine model of Th2- mediated ovalbumin/alum-induced allergic airway inflammation. We demonstrate here that antigen-conjugated polystyrene (Ag-PS) NPs, although effective for the prophylactic induction of tolerance, induce anaphylaxis in presensitized mice. Antigen-conjugated NPs made of biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (Ag-PLG) are similarly effective prophylactically, are well tolerated by sensitized animals, but only partially inhibit Th2 responses when administered therapeutically. PLG NPs containing encapsulated antigen [PLG(Ag)], however, were well tolerated and effectively inhibited Th2 responses and airway inflammation both prophylactically and therapeutically. Thus, we illustrate progression toward PLG(Ag) as a biodegradable Ag carrier platform for the safe and effective inhibition of allergic airway inflammation without the need for nonspecific immunosuppression in animals with established Th2 sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5059-5064
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 3 2016


  • Allergy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Nanoparticles
  • Th2 cells
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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