J Korean Med Sci.  2006 Oct;21(5):805-810. 10.3346/jkms.2006.21.5.805.

Changes of Serum Cytokines After the Long Term Immunotherapy with Japanese Hop Pollen Extracts

  • 1Department of Allergy and Rheumatology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. hspark@ajou.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Busan, Korea.


Japanese hop (Hop J) pollen has been considered as one of the major causative pollen allergens in the autumn season. We developed a new Hop J immunotherapy extract in collaboration with Allergopharma (Reinbeck, Germany) and investigated immunologic mechanisms during 3 yr immunotherapy. Twenty patients (13 asthma with rhinitis and 7 hay fever) were enrolled from Ajou University Hospital. Sera were collected before, 1 yr, and 3 yr after the immunotherapy. Changes of serum specific IgE, IgG1 , and IgG4 levels to Hop J pollen extracts and serum IL-10, IL-12, TGF-beta1 and soluble CD23 levels were monitored by ELISA. Skin reactivity and airway hyper-responsiveness to methacholine were improved during the study period. Specific IgG1 increased at 1 yr then decreased again at 3 yr, and specific IgG4 levels increased progressively (p<0.05, respectively), whereas total and specific IgE levels showed variable responses with no statistical significance. IL-10, TGF-beta1 and soluble CD23 level began to decrease during first year and then further decreased during next two years with statistical significances. (p<0.05, respectively). In con-clusion, these findings suggested the favorable effect of long term immunotherapy with Hop J pollen extracts can be explained by lowered IgE affinity and generation of specific IgG4 , which may be mediated by IL-10 and TGF-beta1.


Desensitization, Immunologic; Allergen Immunotherapy; Pollen; Specific IgG; Interleukin-10; transforming growth factor beta 1

MeSH Terms

Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood
Receptors, IgE/blood
Immunoglobulin G/blood
Immunoglobulin E/blood
*Desensitization, Immunologic
Bronchial Hyperreactivity/etiology


  • Fig. 1 Changes of skin reactivity (A) and PC20 methacholine (B) level during the 3 yr immunotherapy.

  • Fig. 2 Changes of serum specific IgE (A) and sCD23 (B) level during the 3 yr immunotherapy.

  • Fig. 3 Changes of serum specific IgG1 (A) and specific IgG4 (B) level during the 3 yr' immunotherapy.

  • Fig. 4 Changes of IgG4 binidng components within the Hop J pollen extracts using the sera from 7 sensitized patients (1-7) and buffer control (B). a, before; b, 1 yr after immunotherapy; c, 3 yr after the immunotherapy.

  • Fig. 5 Changes of serum IL-10 (A) and TGF-β1 (B) level during the 3 yr immunotherapy.

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