British Journal of Dermatology vol:132 issue:4 pages:599-603
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD) can be provoked by exposure to airborne allergens. We have previously shown that patients hypersensitive to D. pteronyssinus (Dpt) allergens were improved by administration of complexes composed of specific antibodies and allergen, which reduce the allergen-specific immune response. We now report that similar results can be achieved by using F(ab')2 fragments of specific antibodies instead of whole antibody molecules. Eight adult patients with severe AD were included in a single-blind study. During the first 11 months patients were maintained on injections of carrier buffer alone, in an effort to evaluate the extent of spontaneous improvement. They were then treated with intradermal injections of allergen-F(ab')2 complexes made from autologous specific antibodies and Dpt allergens. The majority of the patients improved spontaneously during the summer months, with an average 30% reduction of symptoms. However, a much more pronounced improvement was observed after 3 months on active therapy, corresponding to a cumulative amount of 60 micrograms F(ab')2 and 15 micrograms allergens. The patients continued to improve over the next 5 months, showing an average 83% reduction of severity scores. The use of F(ab')2 antibody fragments reduces the risk of inducing an anti-allotypic immune response, and raises the possibility of adding adjuvants to allergen-antibody complexes and/or using specific antibodies isolated from pooled gammaglobulins.