IL-2-Agonist-Induced IFN-γ Exacerbates Systemic Anaphylaxis in Food Allergen-Sensitized

Food allergies are common, costly and potentially life-threatening disorders. They are driven by Th2, but inhibited by Th1 reactions. There is also evidence indicating that IL-2 agonist treatment inhibits allergic sensitization through expansion of regulatory T cells. Here, we tested the impact of an IL-2 agonist in a novel model for food allergy to hen´s egg in mice sensitized without artificial adjuvants. Prophylactic IL-2 agonist treatment expanded Treg populations and inhibited allergen-specific sensitization. However, IL-2 agonist treatment of already sensitized mice increased mast cell responses and allergic anaphylaxis upon allergen re-challenge. These effects depended on allergen-specific IgE and were mediated through IFN-γ, as shown by IgE transfer and blockade of IFN-γ with monoclonal antibodies. These results suggest that although shifting the allergic reaction toward a Treg/Th1 response inhibits allergic sensitization, the prototypic Th1 cytokine IFN-γ promotes mast cell activation and allergen-induced anaphylaxis in individuals that are already IgE-sensitized. Hence, while a Th1 response can prevent the development of food allergy, IFN-γ has the ability to exacerbate already established food allergy.

Link et al. 2020 Front. Immunol.