Starts: 
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 12:25
Specific location: 
Room 343

Speaker: Dr. Med. Sc Sigurbjörg Þorsteinsdóttir,  Institute of Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur

Title: Transgenic barley against allergy

Abstract: Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is an IgE-mediated dermatitis of horses initiated by bites of midges of the genus Culicoides. Culicoides spp. are not indigenous to Iceland and the prevalence of IBH is much higher in horses born in Iceland and exported as compared to Icelandic horses born in a Culicoides rich environment. Therefore immunotherapy is needed. The aim of the study was to express allergens from Culicoides in barley grains and develop a method to treat horses via the mucosa of the mouth. We showed that specific antibody response could be induced in healthy horses using oral treatment with transgenic barley expressing an allergen. The antibodies were able to partly block the binding of allergen specific IgE from IBH affected horses. At Cornell University, Icelandic IBH affected horses are currently treated with transgenic barley. First results showed that there is a trend in the treatment group from a predominantly T-helper 2 (Th2)-associated antibody isotype pattern towards an increase in Th1-associated isotypes against the relevant allergen. To confirm the clinical effectiveness of the oral allergen treatment experiments have to be performed with more allergens and on more horses.

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