Early-life co-administration of cockroach allergen and endotoxin augments pulmonary and systemic responses

K. Kulhankova, C. L.S. George, J. N. Kline, J. M. Snyder, M. Darling, E. H. Field, P. S. Thorne

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12 Scopus citations


Background Environmental exposures to cockroach allergen and endotoxin are recognized epidemiological risk factors for the early development of allergies and asthma in children. Because of this, it is important to examine the role of early-life concurrent inhalation exposures to cockroach allergen and endotoxin in the pathogenesis of allergic airways disease. Objective We examined the effects of repeated concomitant endotoxin and cockroach allergen inhalation on the pulmonary and systemic immune responses of newborn and juvenile mice. Methods C3H/HeBFeJ mice were exposed to inhaled endotoxin and cockroach allergen via intranasal instillation from day 2 to 21 after birth, and systemic and pulmonary responses were examined in serum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and lung tissue. Results Cockroach allergen exposures induced pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation, total and allergen-specific IgE, IgG1, and IgG 2a production, and alveolar remodelling. Co-exposures with endotoxin and cockroach allergen significantly increased serum IgE and IgG1, lung inflammation, and alveolar wall thickness, and decreased airspace volume density. Importantly, compared with exposures with individual substances, the responses to co-exposures were more than additive. Conclusions Repeated inhalation exposures of neonatal and juvenile mice to endotoxin and cockroach allergen increased the pulmonary inflammatory and systemic immune responses in a synergistic manner and enhanced alveolar remodelling in the developing lung. These data underscore the importance of evaluating the effect of multiple, concurrent environmental exposures, and of using an experimental model that incorporates clinically relevant timing and route of exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1079
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Allergy
  • Cockroach allergen
  • Endotoxin
  • Enzyme hypothesis
  • Lung inflammation
  • Synergistic effect


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