Project 15

Zsolt Szépfalusi, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna

Project 15: The development of normal and allergic immune responses in childhood and its manipulation by allergen-specific interventions

Zsolt Szepfalusi has a broad knowledge in experimental and clinical allergy and is specialized in paediatric allergy with a focus on food allergy. Szepfalusi has made important contributions to the field of paediatric allergy and participated in many EU programs. Within this SFB he wants to study the evolution of the allergic and normal immune response to allergens and to explore the feasibility of prophylactic sublingual immunotherapy. In order to elucidate immunological effects of preventive SLIT (pSLIT) he will assess the allergen-specific and unspecific (bystander) effects on sera and peripheral blood from patients participating in a placebo-controlled preventive SLIT trial (pSLIT) in young mono-sensitized children. Currently acknowledged immunological parameters will be assessed. Changes in allergen and epitope-specific IgE, IgG1-4, IgA, IgM responses will be measured using micro-arrayed allergens and allergen epitopes. T cell proliferation to relevant and irrelevant allergens, cytokine expression on protein and mRNA (TGF-β, IL-10, IL-5, IFN-γ, foxp3), T regulatory cell involvement (CD4+, CD25+, foxp3+) will be determined in blood samples taken before and after treatment. To determine optimal treatment duration of pSLIT, Szepfalusi will initiate a clinical trial comparing a 3 months versus 12 months treatment with extract of either house dust mite (HDM) or grass pollen in mono-sensitized children and monitor the immunological and clinical effects with the same methodology as described above. Four hundred children with sensitization to either HDM or grass pollen but no clinical relevant allergy will be assigned in an open-controlled, randomized, multicentre fashion to treatment according to the individual sensitization pattern. The appearance of new sensitizations 12 and 24 months after treatment begin is defined as first outcome parameter. Clinical relevant allergy to treated sensitizations and new, emerging allergies serves as secondary outcome parameter.


ZsoltUniv.-Prof. Dr. Zsolt Szépfalusi
Department of Pediatrics
Medical University of Vienna
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Szépfalusi Zs, Pichler J, Elsässer S , van Duren K, Ebner Ch , Bernaschek G , Urbanek R. 2000. Transplacental priming of the human immune system with environmental allergens can occur at early gestational age. J Allergy Clin Immunol 106:530-536.

Eiwegger T, Gruber S, Geiger C, Mayer E, Dehlink E, Bannert C, Frischer T, Kasper D, Jaksch P, Klepetko W, Akdis C, Szépfalusi Z. 2011. Impact of systemic immuno-suppression after solid organ transplantation on allergen-specific responses. Allergy 66:271-278.

Dehlink E, Platzer B, Baker AH, Larosa J, Pardo M, Dwyer P, Yen EH, Szépfalusi Z, Nurko S, Fiebiger E. 2011. A soluble form of the high affinity IgE receptor, Fc-Epsilon-RI, circulates in human serum. PLoS One. 6:e19098.

Gruber S, Eiwegger T, Nachbaur E, Tiringer K, Aigner C, Jaksch P, Keplinger M, Klepetko W, Lang G, Taghavi S, Graf A, Eichler I, Frischer T, Szépfalusi Z. 2012. Eur Respir J. 40:462-9.

Tiringer K, Treis A, Fucik P, Gona M, Gruber S, Renner S, Dehlink E, Nachbaur E, Horak F, Jaksch P, Döring G, Crameri R, Jung A, Rochat MK, Hörmann M, Spittler A, Klepetko W, Akdis CA, Szépfalusi Z, Frischer T, Eiwegger T. 2013. A Th17- and Th2-skewed Cytokine Profile in Cystic Fibrosis Lungs Represents a Potential Risk Factor for Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection.. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 187:621-9.