Peptide immunotherapy using T-cell epitopes is expected to be an effective treatment for allergic diseases such as Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica; Cj) pollinosis. To develop a treatment for pollen allergy by inducing oral tolerance, we generated genetically manipulated (GM) chickens by retroviral gene transduction, to produce a fusion protein of chicken egg white lysozyme and a peptide derived from seven dominant human T-cell epitopes of Japanese cedar pollen allergens (cLys-7crp). The transgene sequence was detected in all chickens transduced with the retroviral vector. Transduction efficiency in blood cells correlated to transgene expression. Western blot analysis revealed that cLys-7crp was expressed in the egg white of GM hens. Mice induced to develop allergic rhinitis by Cj pollinosis were fed with cLys-7crp-containing egg white produced by GM chickens. Total and Cj allergen (Cry j 1)-specific IgE levels were significantly decreased in allergic mice fed with cLys-7crp-containing egg white compared with allergic mice fed with normal egg white. These results suggest that oral administration of T-cell epitope-containing egg white derived from GM chickens is effective for the induction of immune tolerance as an allergy therapy.
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