Changes of immunomodulatory cytokines associated with omalizumab therapy for severe persistent asthma

Y Shimizu, K Dobashi, N Fueki, M Fueki, T Okada, S Tomioka, S Makino, M Mori
Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents 2011, 25 (2): 177-86
Omalizumab is an anti-IgE monoclonal antibody that was proven effective for the treatment of severe asthma. IgE plays a central role in allergic asthma, and an anti-allergic effect of omalizumab has been confirmed in terms of its impact on Th2 cytokines. The objective of the present study is to determine the influence of omalizumab on clinical parameters and circulating immuoregulatory cytokines. Patients with severe allergic asthma were enrolled and given four months of omalizumab therapy. Changes of symptoms and other parameters were assessed, including the asthma control test (ACT) score, morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), peripheral eosinophil count, total serum IgE, and pulmonary function tests. The use of corticosteroids and short-acting bronchodilators, as well as the number of unscheduled hospital visits, were monitored. Circulating levels of cytokines were analyzed with a multiplex cytokine immunoassay in patients with or without omalizumab therapy. Asthma symptoms (evaluated by the ACT score and morning PEF) improved with omalizumab treatment, while total IgE was elevated. Use of corticosteroids and short-acting bronchodilators and the number of unscheduled hospital visits for exacerbation of asthma were all reduced by omalizumab treatment. The level of macrophage inflammatory protein 1-δ (MIP1-δ) was significantly reduced after omalizumab therapy and was high in patients without omalizumab. IL-16 also tended to decrease with omalizumab therapy. Both MIP1-δ and IL-16 decreased as asthma improved over the 4-month period of omalizumab therapy. These findings suggest that omalizumab may act via IgE-mediated immunoregulation of MIP1-δ and IL-16.

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