There is no satisfactory therapeutic intervention for peanut allergy, which accounts for most life-threatening food allergic reactions. Since IL-12 has been found to inhibit allergic airway responses in a mouse model of asthma and to cure Th2 cytokine-mediated murine schistosomiasis, we hypothesized that IL-12 treatment might also inhibit peanut allergic reactions. Consequently, we investigated the effects of oral IL-12 treatment in a murine model of peanut allergy and found that oral administration of liposome encapsulated rIL-12 could both prevent and reverse peanut hypersensitivity and could reduce histamine release, peanut-specific serum IgE and IgG1, and fecal IgA levels. Oral IL-12 treatment also increased IFN-gamma but did not decrease IL-4 or IL-5 levels. We conclude that oral rIL-12 treatment has therapeutic as well as preventive effects on peanut allergy, which are associated with increased IFN-gamma production.
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