Journal of Clinical Investigation vol:85 issue:4 pages:1024-35
Antigen-antibody complexes were made from allergens of the common house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) and an excess of purified autologous specific antibodies. These complexes have been used to treat Dpt-hypersensitive patients who suffered from chronic bronchial asthma. Clinical symptoms and medication intake were followed by filling in diary cards. Peak expiratory flow, measured four times a day, was also followed. Intradermal skin tests and bronchial challenge tests were performed with allergen together with an evaluation of nonspecific bronchial reactivity. Specific IgE and IgG antibodies were assayed after separation from the bulk of serum immunoglobulins by immunoadsorption. The study was carried out over two years according to a double-blind protocol. Intradermal inoculation of antigen-antibody complexes resulted in a marked reduction of both clinical and medication scores. No systemic side-effects were observed and only mild wheal and flare reactions were noted at the injection site. The treatment showed a drastic reduction of specific skin and bronchial reactivities with only marginal effects on nonspecific bronchial reactivity. Concentrations of specific IgE antibodies decreased significantly during the first weeks of treatment and remained at these lower values throughout the study. Specific IgG antibodies actually decreased in the majority of treated patients. The total amount of allergen used in this study was less than 1% of the amount currently used for conventional hyposensitization with the same allergen. These findings show that antigen-antibody complex inoculation is an efficient and safe means of treating allergic bronchial asthma and that the mechanism of action is likely to differ from conventional hyposensitization.