Background: Allergen-specific immunotherapy has been demonstrated to have potential for the treatment of allergic diseases. Transgenic animals are currently the best available bioreactors to produce recombinant proteins, which can be secreted in milk. It has not been clearly demonstrated whether milk from transgenic animals expressing recombinant allergens has immunomodulatory effects on allergic asthma.Methods: We aimed to determine whether the oral administration of milk containing a mite allergen can down-regulate allergen-specific airway inflammation. Transgenic CD-1 mice that express a recombinant group 2 allergen from Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp2) in their milk were generated using an embryonic gene-microinjection technique. Mouse pups were fed transgenic Dp2-containing milk or wild-type milk. Subsequently, these mice were sensitized and challenged with Dp2 to induce allergic airway inflammation.Results: Upon sensitization and challenge, mice fed transgenic Dp2 milk had decreased T-helper 2 (Th2) and increased T-helper 1 (Th1) responses in the airway compared with mice fed wild-type milk. Moreover, pre-treatment with transgenic Dp2 milk attenuated airway inflammation and decreased airway hyper-responsiveness.Conclusions: This study provides new evidence that oral administration of transgenic milk containing the Dp2 allergen down-regulated and moderately protected against allergic airway inflammation. Milk from transgenic animals expressing allergens may have potential use in the prevention of allergic asthma.
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