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The Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (IJAAI), a scientific and research journal, seeks to publish original papers, selected review articles, case reports, and other articles of special interest related to the fields of asthma, allergy and immunology. The Journal is an official publication of the Iranian Society of Asthma and Allergy (ISAA), which is supported by Immunology, Asthma and Allergy Research Institute (IAARI) and published by Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS). The Journal seeks to provide its readers with the highest quality materials published through a process of careful peer reviews and editorial comments. All papers are published in English.

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Current Issue

Vol 20 No 5 (2021)

Original Article(s)

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 31 | views: 143 | pages: 509-519

    Allergic asthma is a complicated respiratory problem characterized by airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), breathlessness, mucus hyper-secretion, and goblet cell hyperplasia. Asthma is controlled by genetic and environmental factors. Allergy is the main trigger of asthma and is mediated by Th2 cytokines along with IgE production. Vitamin D (Vit D) is the main supplementary factor for the immune system. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Vit D on the exacerbation of allergic asthma.
    A murine model of allergic asthma was induced by ovalbumin (OVA) in four of five groups of studied female BALB/c mice (each group, n=20). One group was considered as control. Of OVA-induced mice, two groups received Vit D via oral (10,000 IU/kg diet) or intranasal (inhalation) forms (30 min on days 25, 27, and 29), and the third group received budesonide. At least, AHR, the levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and INF-g in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), serum IgE and histamine, IL-25 and IL-33 gene expression, as well as histopathology study of the lung were done.
    The Penh values, type2 Cytokines in BALF (in both protein and molecular levels), total IgE and histamine, perivascular and peribronchial inflammation, goblet cell hyperplasia, and mucus hypersecretion decreased significantly in both oral and intranasal Vit D-treated asthmatic mice groups, especially on day 38 of orally treated mice.
    Here, we found Vit D as a promising agent in control of allergic asthma with a remarkable ability to decrease the severity of inflammation. Therefore, Vit D sufficiency is highly recommended in asthmatic patients.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 19 | views: 72 | pages: 520-524

    Allergic proctocolitis is a cell-dependent food allergy that is present in both breast and formula-fed infants. The presence of blood with different amounts in the stool is the main manifestation of the disease. Different results have been published on the accuracy and specificity of the atopic patch test (APT). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of the APT and compare them with those obtained in the food elimination/introduction (E/I) challenge, as the gold standard of confirming the allergy.
    Twenty-eight patients (18 boys, 10 girls, <1 year) with allergic proctocolitis were recruited in this study. The mean age of the disease onset and enrolling the study were 2.23±1.7 and 5.25±2.19 months, respectively. After performing APT with fresh foods, an E/I challenge was done in a patient with positive tests, and results were analyzed.
    APT was positive in 14/28 (50%) individuals. The most common foods detected by APT in all of the individuals were: milk (10/28), rice (5/28), soy (4/28), and egg white (4/28), while in E/I challenge in the APT-positive individuals were: milk (8/10), rice (3/5), egg white (1/4), and soy (0/4). APT was positive in half of the infants<1 year with allergic proctocolitis and there was no significant correlation between the APT results and the E/I challenge test for all foods.
    Comparing the results of APT and E/I challenge methods showed a convergence between the milk and rice sensitivity, thus we suppose APT to be a useful tool in identifying these two allergens in cell-mediated food allergies like allergic proctocolitis.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 24 | views: 110 | pages: 525-536

    More than 99% of cervical cancers are associated with human papillomaviruses (HPVs) worldwide. Current HPV vaccines are safe, highly immunogenic, with effective immunity against specific HPV types. However, DNA vaccines are a new appealing platform which can be considered for designing the HPV vaccines. This study aimed to construct a recombinant eukaryotic expression plasmid containing L1 of HPV-18, tissue plasminogen activators (tPA), and pan HLA DR-binding epitope (PADRE) genes into the pVAX1 vector.
    The L1, tPA, and PADRE genes were amplified in a thermocycler. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products were cloned and insertion of the genes was confirmed using colony PCR, restriction enzymes analysis, and sequencing methods. Indirect immunofluorescence, RT-PCR, and western blot assays were applied to identify the target gene in HEK-293 cells. Total IgG and its isotypes in immunized mice were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique.
    Western blot analysis showed a protein band of about 67.5 kDa in supernatant and cell lysate of transfected cells. The results of mice immunization with different constructs (group 1: the pVAX-L1, group 2: pVAX-tPA-PADRE-L1, group 3: pVAX1, and group 4: PBS as controls) indicated that the pVAX1-tPA-PADRE-L1 construct induced a significantly higher level of total IgG than pVAX1-L1 (p=0.003).
    In conclusion, pVAX1-tPA-PADRE-L1 recombinant plasmid is a highly immunogenic construct and suggests as a promising candidate for vaccine development against HPV type 18 in low-middle-income countries.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 41 | views: 72 | pages: 537-549

    Nosocomial infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) nosocomial infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) are considered as a global serious problem in hospitalized patients because of emerging antibiotic resistance. Immunotherapy approaches are promising to prevent such infections. In our previous study, five antigenic epitopes of outer membrane protein A (OmpA), as the most dangerous virulence molecule in A. baumanii, were predicted in silico. In this study, the investigators evaluated some immunological aspects of the peptides.
    Five peptides were separately injected into C5BL/6 mice; then the cytokine production (interleukin-4 and interferon-gamma) of splenocytes and opsonophagocytic activity of immunized serum were assessed. To identify the protective function of the peptides, animal models of sepsis and pneumonia infections were actively and passively immunized with selected peptides and pooled sera of immunized mice, respectively. Then, survival rates of them were compared with the non-infected controls. Based on the results, activated spleen cells in P127 peptide-immunized mice exhibited an increase level of IFN-γ compared with the other experimental groups, but not about the IL-4 concentration. The results of opsonophagocytic assay revealed an appropriate killing activity of produced antibodies against A. baumannii in a dose-dependent manner. Further, the survival rates of the mice under passive immunization with the immunized sera or active immunization with P127 peptide were significantly more than those in the control group. Moreover, the survival rate of the P127 peptide immunized group was considerably higher than that among the other peptide-immunized group.
    In conclusion, findings indicated that peptides derived from outer membrane protein-A can be used as a promising tool for designing the epitope-based vaccines against infections caused by A. baumannii.  

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 11 | views: 36 | pages: 550-562

    Inflammation-induced by the interaction of the Vibrio cholerae with the epithelial cells is considered as a main cause of bacteria spreading through the gastrointestinal tract and its consequences. Because of the immunomodulatory and antibacterial properties of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs), this study aimed to investigate the effect of AD-MSCs on the interaction of the bacterial-epithelial cell.
    Caco-2 differentiated to intestinal epithelial cells co-cultured with AD-MSCs in a 1:1 ratio of the surface area of six-well plates, for 48 hours. After exposure to Vibrio cholerae, bacterial attachment and internalization were evaluated. Secretions of interleukin (IL) -6, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and nitric oxide (NO) were also measured using ELISA, and Griess assay, respectively. In addition, the expression of chloratoxin (Ctx-β) and inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-αIL-1β, and IL-8 were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The rate of apoptosis was also evaluated by Annexin V-PI flow cytometry.
    Bacterial attachment and Ctx-β expression were significantly reduced in the co-culture group compared to the Vibrio cholerae-exposed Caco-2. IL-6 and PGE2 secretion increased in the co-culture group. NO, was also slightly reduced in exposure to Vibrio cholerae. An elevated level of bacterial internalization was observed in the co-culture group compared to the Caco-2 cells leading to an increase in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The rate of apoptosis was also increased significantly.
    Cell-to-cell contact of AD-MSCs and Caco-2 promoted inflammatory responses and disruption of the epithelium barrier by enhancing bacterial invasion. This may be due to the high expression of surface matrix metalloproteinases on MSCs. 

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 33 | views: 131 | pages: 563-573

    Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a systemic inflammatory disorder of joints and entheses. Recent studies have reported an increased prevalence of dementia in AS patients. However, data for exploring the association between dementia and AS remain uncertain.
    In this study, enriched pathways and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in whole blood transcription data of AS patients obtained from the gene expression omnibus (GEO) database; using gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and differential expression analysis.
    Four pathways, including oxidative phosphorylation, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases were significantly enriched in AS patients compared to the controls. We identified 22 common genes among the pathways that showed an increasing trend in AS compared to the controls. Five of them including COX7B, NDUFB3, ATP5PF, UQCRB, and NDUFS4 were the most significant genes which were selected for gene expression analysis; using real-time PCR on RNA contents of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of AS patients and controls (20 samples from each group). The gene expression analysis indicated considerable overexpression of COX7B (p<0.0001) and ATP5J (p=0.0001) genes in AS patients group in comparison to the control samples.
    The role of oxidative phosphorylation has previously been established in dementia pathogenesis. Given that AS patients have also a remarkably higher prevalence of dementia than the their healthy counterparts, hence our results may propose that the common pathway of oxidative phosphorylation can be regarded as a possible shared contributing factor in the etiopathogenesis of AS and dementia.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 13 | views: 65 | pages: 574-583

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered as an autoimmune-related condition in which the overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines leads to an inflammatory cascade. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent. We aimed to explore the impact of oral NAC on cytokines activities and clinical indicators in RA patients.
    In this placebo-controlled randomized double-blind clinical trial, 41 active RA patients were allocated in either NAC (600 mg, twice a day) or placebo group, as add-on therapy to the routine regimen, for 8 weeks. Disease activity score with an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR), and serum concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-17 were assessed at baseline and end of the trial for all participants in the test and control groups.
    The reduction of the DAS28-ESR was higher considerably in the NAC group compared to that of the control group. No statistically significant differences were seen in the reduction of IL-1β and IL-17 cytokines between the NAC and control groups. In addition, improvements in the patient global assessment, number of tender joints, number of swollen joints, and the ESR rates were in favor of the NAC group.
    Our findings reveal that NAC may have a beneficial effect on all of the clinical features of RA. However, non-significant variations in the IL-1β and IL-17 levels suggest an alternative way of NAC effectiveness without influencing the measured cytokines. Nevertheless, these results need to be confirmed by further investigations.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 8 | views: 120 | pages: 584-592

    Mechanisms underlying the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have not yet been elucidated. In this study, we evaluated the balance of T cell subsets in BALB/c mice model of SLE induced; using Con A and polyamines as DNA immunogenicity modifiers.
    BALB/c mice were immunized subcutaneously with 50 µg extracted DNA from cells cultured in different conditions: splenocytes+ polyamines (group P), splenocytes+ Con A (group A), splenocytes+ polyamines+ Con A (group PA) and splenocytes only (control). Anti-double-stranded DNA –(ds-DNA) antibodies, proteinuria, and antinuclear autoantibodies were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Bradford method, and immunofluorescence respectively. Transcription factors of different T helper subsets were examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
    The serum level of the anti-dsDNA antibody in group PA was higher than that in the other groups (p>0.05). Antinuclear antibody (ANA) titer increased in groups A and PA. Proteinuria level in group PA was significantly higher than that in the control group (p<0.001). Expression of Foxp3 was decreased in group A (p=0.001). Additionally, the ratios of T-bet/GATA3 and T-bet/Foxp3 were also increased in group A. (p>0.05).
    Our results revealed an increased ratio of Th1 to Th2 and decreased expression of Foxp3 in group A, but group PA manifested more obvious signs of the disease. These results suggest that other mechanisms rather than disturbance in T cells' balance may involve the development of disease symptoms.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 16 | views: 162 | pages: 593-599

    Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory dermatitis characterized by an inflammatory epidermal hyperproliferation. Growth differentiation factor‐15 (GDF-15), a member of the transforming growth factor‐β family, has immune modulatory roles in autoimmune condition of Psoriasis. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between GDF-15 serum levels as well as gene expression with psoriasis and its severity.
    This case-control study was performed on 45 patients with psoriasis Vulgaris and 45 healthy individuals. The severity of the disease was determined based on the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI score). Serum levels of GDF-15 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and its gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
    The mean serum levels of GDF-15 in patients and controls were 1.98±1.57 ng/mL and 0.93±0.48 ng/mL, respectively. GDF-15 gene expression was measured as 9.7±6.6% in the patient group and 7.6±2.5% in the healthy group. The mean of GDF-15 serum levels in mild, moderate, and severe cases of psoriasis were 0.45±0.35, 2.27±0.7, and 3.5±1.6 ng/mL, respectively, indicating that elevated serum levels of GDF-15 correlate significantly with disease severity. The mean of GDF-15 gene expression in the mild, moderate, and severe forms of psoriasis were 5.25±3.2, 7.6±2.8, and 17.8±5.7, respectively which indicate a significant relationship between GDF-15 gene expression and psoriasis severity.
    Based on this study, in psoriatic patients, GDF-15 serum levels and gene expression are significantly higher than those in healthy controls. Such values were correlated with disease activity, especially in severe cases. Therefore, GDF-15 may be used as a prognostic marker of psoriasis.  

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 13 | views: 60 | pages: 600-613

    Metformin, cimetidine, and ibuprofen separately exhibit immunomodulatory and anti-tumorigenic effects. Herein, the impacts of metformin alone and in combination with cimetidine/ibuprofen on some Th1- and regulatory T (Treg) cell-related parameters were evaluated using a breast cancer (BC) model.
    For establishing the BC model, four groups of Balb/c mice were challenged with the carcinoma cell line. After 11-30 days post-induction, they were treated intraperitoneally (with metformin (200 mg/kg), "metformin plus cimetidine (20 mg/kg)"; "metformin plus ibuprofen (20 mg/kg)", or with all three drugs in mentioned doses. Untreated BC and without tumor mice were enrolled as control groups. On day 31, splenic Th1 and Treg cell frequencies, serum interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) concentration, and intra-tumoral T-bet, TGF-β, and forkhead box protein P3 (FOXP3) expression were measured; using flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and real-time-PCR, respectively.
    Treatment of the BC mice with metformin alone and in combination with cimetidine and/or ibuprofen enhanced the frequency of Th1 cells, and IFN-γ concentration, while it resulted in a decrease in the frequency of Treg cells, serum TGF-β concentration, and the expression of FOXP3 and TGF-β compared with un-treated BC mice. FOXP3 expression in the metformin-treated group was lower in mice who received combination therapy. Survival rate and body weight were increased, while tumor size and spleen index were reduced in mice treated with metformin alone and its combination with cimetidine and/or ibuprofen. No remarkable differences were found between metformin-treated mice and those who received combination therapies regarding Th1 and Treg cell percentages, TGF-β expression, body weight, tumor size, and spleen index.
    The benefits of combinational therapy may be largely attributed to metformin. Immunotherapeutic potentials of metformin in cancers need further considerations.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 19 | views: 60 | pages: 614-622

    The mitochondrion has a substantial role in innate immunity and inflammasome signaling pathways. Sulfur mustard (SM) induces toxicity in cytoplasmic organelles. We aimed to evaluate the potential therapeutic effect of curcumin on the toxicity of SM analog through measuring gene expression levels of mitochondrial dynamics followed by induction of the inflammasome signaling pathway.
    After the treatment of pulmonary epithelial cell line (A549) by 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES) (2500 mM) for 48h, the transcriptional activity of mitochondrial fission and fusion genes such as dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), mitochondrial fission 1 protein (Fis1), mitofusin-1 (Mfn1), mitofusin-2 (Mfn2), and Dominant optic atrophy (Opa1) and inflammasome pathway genes including absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), NLR family containing protein 3 (NLRP3), and Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC) was measured. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of curcumin (160 mM) concurrent with SM analog on the expression level of mitochondria and inflammasome genes was investigated.
    CEES was able to over-express the fission, fusion (Drp1 ~ 8, Fis1 4.5, Mfn2 15, and Opa1 16-fold) and inflammasome genes (AIM2, NLRP3,  8 and 6-fold, respectively), whereas Mfn1 was significantly decreased (0.5-fold) and a not statistically significant decrease was observed in the ASC gene. Curcumin could modulate the effect of CEES, mitigate the expression of fission, fusion, and inflammasome genes exceedingly. However, a major increase in the repairer fusion gene (Mfn1, 6-fold) and complete suppression of the ASC gene were the outcomes of using the curcumin.
    In conclusion, we suggest curcumin alleviates the disturbance of mitochondrial dynamics and downregulates the inflammasome genes exposed to the CEES.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 9 | views: 43 | pages: 623-634

    The rates of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells in vivo are very low, and the amounts of cells obtained directly from the body are hard enough to fulfill their potential in clinical application.
    To overcome this problem, we subcutaneously injected alpha-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) into DBA/1 mice and thymic single cells were isolated and cultured in vitro. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting was used to detect the iNKT cells and their subsets in the thymus after the injection of α-GalCer by different methods. In addition, in vitro changes of single-cell suspensions and their cytokines in culture supernatants were assessed.
    Compared with the α-GalCer multiple subcutaneous injection group, the rates of iNKT cells in the α-GalCer single subcutaneous injection group were markedly higher at each time point, while the highest levels of iNKT1 and iNKT2 cells were observed on day 4 and  8, respectively. In α-GalCer single subcutaneous injection for 8 days and thymic mononuclear cell cultured for 14 days group, the expansion rate of iNKT cells was significantly faster than the other groups, while it reached a peak for iNKT1 cells. Interferon-gamma was consistent with the development of iNKT1 cells, however no difference was found between the cultured iNKT cells in vitro and the natural iNKT cells in vivo in terms of cytokine production.
    Herein, we introduced a method in which antigenic stimulation in vivo and directed induction in vitro yielded high levels of iNKT cells with specific functions.

Brief Communication

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 16 | views: 62 | pages: 635-640

    Meatal stenosis (MS) is known as one of the most frequent complications of circumcision. In the present study, we aimed to find any possible relationship between MS and allergic disorders.
    A total of 36 children with a mean±SD age of 5.84±2.03 years were referred with MS and an atopic background even in themselves or in one of their family members (Group A). There were also age-matched controls with a mean±SD age of 5.70±2.17 years who were referred to our center with allergic symptoms and no urinary complaints (Group B, n=17). The RIDA qLine allergy and allergy explorer (ALEX) tests were performed for all patients to find possible allergen sensitization.
    Laboratory findings revealed that IgE-sensitization to the main food and aeroallergens in Group A (with the chief complaint of MS in whom a mild atopic condition was found during concise medical history taking) were very similar to the control group with no significant difference (except for ryegrass which was higher in the control group). Although total IgE level was considerably higher in group B compared to group A, food sensitization to cow’s milk and ß-lactoglobulin was higher in asthmatic patients of group A compared to the controls.
    It seems that not all patients with MS should be considered as a complication of circumcision and undergo a surgical procedure for correction of the stenosis. Further investigations are required to determine the role of concise medical history taking and proper treatment of the allergic disorder to reduce failed surgical attempts in atopic boys with MS.

Case Report(s)

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 29 | views: 172 | pages: 641-646

    Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), is a non-IgE mediated food allergy presenting in infants younger than 12 months. Diagnostic delay may occur due to overlapping clinical symptoms with several conditions. Here, we present two cases of FPIES, mistakenly diagnosed and treated as Bartter syndrome. This study aims to emphasize the several features of this syndrome that may mimic other diagnoses and sometimes leading to near-death events due to delay in the diagnosis and improper treatment. The first patient was a 30-month-old boy with multiple episodes of profuse vomiting and diarrhea within 1 hour after breastfeeding, beginning from the first month of life progressing to hypokalemia and metabolic alkalosis at the age of 5 months leading to the diagnosis of Bartter syndrome. The second patient had a history of unremitting diarrhea which had been started soon after his first breastfeeding followed by biliary vomiting on the 7th day of life. He was treated in another hospital for neonatal sepsis, however, without an appropriate response to treatment. To conclude, despite the current belief on the rarity of FPIES, it is a more prevalent disease than expected with various non-specific manifestations imitating other conditions which may result in diagnostic delay and sometimes fatalities. To shed light on the importance of the physicians’ awareness of this syndrome, these two cases are presented here as examples of FPIES imitating other disorders.

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