Background: The prevalence of food allergy has been increasing, but treatment is very limited. DNA vaccination has been recognized as a promising method for the treatment of allergic diseases; however, poor immunogenicity has hindered its application. Methods: BALB/c mice were intradermally injected with plasmid DNA encoding the peanut protein Ara h 2 (pAra h 2) or pAra h 2 pretreated with poly-L- lysine (PLL) before or after sensitization with Ara h 2 protein. Ara h 2-specific antibodies were measured by ELISA. CD207+ dendritic cells (DCs) and Treg cells in draining lymph nodes were analyzed by flow cytometry after DNA immunization, and cytokine production in splenocytes was also analyzed. Results: In the prophylactic study, pretreatment with pAra h 2 or PLL-pAra h 2 resulted in lower levels of Ara h 2-specific IgG1, IgG2a, and IgE after sensitization with Ara h 2 protein, and mice in the PLL-pAra h 2 group had a significantly lower level of antibodies than those in the pAra h 2 group. In the treatment study, intradermal injection with pAra h 2 or PLL-pAra h 2 after Ara h 2 protein sensitization significantly decreased the level of Ara h 2-specific antibodies, and PLL- pAra h 2 had stronger effects than pAra h 2. There were increased numbers of CD207+ DCs and Treg cells in the mice receiving intradermal injection with PLL-pAra h 2, and splenocytes from PLL-pAra h 2-treated mice secreted increased levels of IFN-γ and IL-10. Conclusions: Modification of pAra h 2 with PLL improved its prophylactic and therapeutic effects in peanut-allergic mice.

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