Intralymphatic allergen-specific immunotherapy: An effective and safe alternative treatment route for pollen-induced allergic rhinitis

Terese Hylander, Leith Latif, Ulla Westin, Lars-Olaf Cardell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only causative treatment of IgE-mediated allergic disorders. The most common administration route is subcutaneous, which may necessitate more than 50 allergen injections during 3 to 5 years. Recent evidence suggests that direct intralymphatic injections could yield faster beneficial results with considerably lower allergen doses and markedly reduced numbers of injections. Objective: To evaluate the effects of intralymphatic allergen-specific immunotherapy in pollen-allergic patients. Methods: In an open pilot investigation followed by a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients with allergic rhinitis were treated with 3 intralymphatic inguinal injections of ALK Alutard (containing 1000 SQ-U birch pollen or grass pollen) or placebo (ALK diluent). Clinical pre- and posttreatment parameters were assessed, the inflammatory cell content in nasal lavage fluids estimated, and the activation pattern of peripheral T cells described. Results: All patients tolerated the intralymphatic immunotherapy (ILIT) treatment well, and the injections did not elicit any severe adverse event. Patients receiving active treatment displayed an initial increase in allergen-specific IgE level and peripheral T-cell activation. A clinical improvement in nasal allergic symptoms upon challenge was recorded along with a decreased inflammatory response in the nose. In addition, these patients reported an improvement in their seasonal allergic disease. No such changes were seen in the placebo group. Conclusions: Although this study is based on a limited number of patients, ILIT with grass-pollen or birch-pollen extracts appears to reduce nasal allergic symptoms without causing any safety problems. Hence, ILIT might constitute a less time-consuming and more cost-effective alternative to conventional subcutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013;131:412-20.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-420
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis
  • intralymphatic
  • immunotherapy
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis


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