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A new era of targeting the ancient gatekeepers of the immune system: toll-like agonists in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma

Zahra Aryan, Stephen T Holgate, Danuta Radzioch, Nima Rezaei
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 2014, 164 (1): 46-63
24853609
Toll-like receptors (TLR) belong to a large family of pattern recognition receptors known as the ancient 'gatekeepers' of the immune system. TLRs are located at the first line of defense against invading pathogens as well as aeroallergens, making them interesting targets to modulate the natural history of respiratory allergy. Agonists of TLRs have been widely employed in therapeutic or prophylactic preparations useful for asthma/allergic rhinitis (AR) patients. MPL® (a TLR4 agonist) and the CpG oligodeoxynucleotide of 1018 ISS, a TLR9 agonist, show strong immunogenicity effects that make them appropriate adjuvants for allergy vaccines. Targeting the TLRs can enhance the efficacy of specific allergen immunotherapy, currently the only available 'curative' treatment for respiratory allergies. In addition, intranasal administration of AZD8848 (a TLR7 agonist) and VTX-1463 (a TLR8 agonist) as stand-alone therapeutics have revealed efficacy in the relief of the symptoms of AR patients. No anaphylaxis has been so far reported with such compounds targeting TLRs, with the most common adverse effects being transient and local irritation (e.g. redness, swelling and pruritus). Many other compounds that target TLRs have been found to suppress airway inflammation, eosinophilia and airway hyper-responsiveness in various animal models of allergic inflammation. Indeed, in the future a wide variability of TLR agonists and even antagonists that exhibit anti-asthma/AR effects are likely to emerge.

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