Background: The “hygiene hypothesis” suggests that a western way of life, including the extended use of anti-infective drugs, a high standard of hygiene and the resulting reduced exposure to microorganisms, could be one of the possible explanations for the increasing prevalence of allergic diseases in humans and animals.
Objectives: we wished to evaluate if a nematode infection influenced IgE sensitization and allergic reactions to house dust mites in an experimental atopic dog model.
Methods: Twelve 10-week-old beagles were included: six of them were inoculated orally withToxocara canis (Tc) while six served as non-infected. Tc-specific IgE and IgG against Tc L3 E/S antigen (TcE/S antigen) were measured before and after Tc infection. All twelve dogs were sensitized epicutaneously to Dermatophagoides farinae (Df) house dust mites and then challenged twice epicutaneously with the mite. Total IgE and Df-specific IgE were measured before/after sensitization and after challenge. Local skin lesion scores were assessed before/after sensitization and after challenge while the duration of pruritus manifestations was measured by video after the second challenge.
Results: Toxocara canis -infected dogs exhibited higher levels of IgG and IgE levels against Tc, Df-specific IgE, total IgE but lower skin lesion scores and pruritus durations after challenge, compared to dogs not infested with this nematode.
Conclusion & clinical relevance: These observations suggest that a Tc infection increases the sensitization to Df in dogs. The possible protective effect against Df-induced clinical signs after allergen challenge should be confirmed in larger studies.