Human Allergogeneticists Should Listen to Their Dog’s Barking

  • A. L. de Weck
  • M. Griot-Wenk
  • H. Schneider
  • B. Schiessl
  • B. Zeemann
  • P. Mayer
  • E. Liehl


A colony of Beagle dogs was used within the last 6 years to develop an allergie dog model. The dogs were sensitized to various allergens, such as recombinant Betvi (birch) and Phi p5 (timothy), ovalbumin, peanut and many others. The first observation was that dogs clearly segregated into high and low IgE responder dogs when immunized for the first time by intradermal or subcutaneous injections of allergen within l month of birth. Characteristic for the high IgE response was the possibility to boost it at any time later in life and to extend it later to other allergens, like is usually the case in atopic man. Low IgE responder dogs showed a low response which was not boostable and could not be extended to other allergens later on. Numerous breeding experiments over 5 years demonstrated clearly that the high IgE response is inherited as a dominant trait.

However, it was then found that this trait does not express itself if first immunization of high IgE responders occurs later than the 3rd month of life. In that case, a potent suppressor mechanism for IgE takes over and the animal presents phenotypically later as a low IgE responder. The mode of sensitization is also crucial for later phenotypic expression. Sensitization by inhalation to the same allergens is obviously regulated by some additional gene(s) since only part of the high IgE responder litters may be sensitized by inhalation. A similar phenomenon was observed in the spontaneous occurrence of IgE to house dust mites or pollens in the dog colony.

These results show clearly that genetic studies based, like is still the case in man, on the spontaneous occurrence of IgE responses to ubiquitous allergens and phenotypes detected long after birth would lead to entirely wrong genetic conclusions.


Atopic Dermatitis House Dust Mite Atopic Disease High Responder House Dust Mite Allergen 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. L. de Weck
  • M. Griot-Wenk
  • H. Schneider
  • B. Schiessl
  • B. Zeemann
  • P. Mayer
  • E. Liehl

There are no affiliations available

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