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Asthma and other allergic diseases are continuously increasing, causing considerable economic and sociologic burden to society. The hygiene hypothesis proposes that lack of microbial T helper (Th) 1-like stimulation during early childhood leads to increased Th2-driven allergic disorders later in life. Immunostimulatory cytosine-phosphate-guanosine (CpG)-oligodeoxynucleotide motifs are candidate molecules for immunotherapeutic studies, as they have been shown to shift the Th2 response toward the Th1 direction and reduce allergic symptoms. Using natural rubber latex (NRL)-induced murine model of asthma, we demonstrated that intradermal CpG administration with allergen reduced pulmonary eosinophilia, mucus production, and Th2-type cytokines, but unexpectedly induced airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to inhaled methacholine, one of the hallmarks of asthma. We found that induction in AHR was dependent on STAT4, but independent of STAT6 signaling. CpG treatment increased production of IFN-γ in the airways and shifted the ratio of CD4(+):CD8(+) T cells toward CD8(+) dominance. By blocking soluble IFN-γ with neutralizing antibody, AHR diminished and the CD4(+):CD8(+) ratio returned to CD4(+) dominance. These results indicate that increased production of IFN-γ in the lungs may lead to severe side effects, such as enhancement of bronchial hyperreactivity to inhaled allergen. This finding should be taken into consideration when planning prophylaxis treatment of asthma with intradermal CpG injections.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol

Publication Date





639 - 647


Administration, Cutaneous, Animals, Bronchial Hyperreactivity, CpG Islands, Cytosine, Female, Guanosine, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Inflammation, Interferon-gamma, Latex, Lung, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Transgenic, Phosphates, Rubber, Th1 Cells, Th2 Cells