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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


OLIVEIRA, F.M.; SILVA-NETO, A.F.; SILVA, C.A.  and  GONTIJO, C.M.. Coupling of palmitate to ovalbumin inhibits the induction of oral tolerance. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.11, pp.1421-1424. ISSN 0100-879X.

Oral tolerance is a phenomenon that may occur in animals exposed to protein antigens for the first time by the oral route. They become unable to produce immune responses at the levels normally observed when they are immunized parenterally with antigen in the presence of adjuvants. Lipids have been used as adjuvants for both parenteral and oral immunization. In the present study we coupled ovalbumin with palmitate residues by incubating the protein with the N-hydroxysuccinimide palmitate ester and tested the preparation for its ability to induce oral tolerance. This was performed by giving 20 mg of antigen to mice by the oral route 7 days prior to parenteral immunization in the presence of Al(OH)3. Mice were bled one week after receiving a booster that was given 2 weeks after primary immunization. Specific antibodies were detected by ELISA. Despite the fact that the conjugates are as immunogenic as the unmodified protein when parenterally injected in mice, they failed to induce oral tolerance. This discrepancy could be explained by differences in the intestinal absorption of the two forms of the antigen. In fact, when compared to the non-conjugated ovalbumin, a fast and high absorption of the lipid-conjugated form of ovalbumin was observed by "sandwich" ELISA.

Keywords : oral tolerance; lipid-protein conjugates; antigen absorption; gut mucosa; ovalbumin.

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