Project 13

Verena Niederberger, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Medical University of Vienna.

Project 13: The nasal mucosa as site for therapy and prevention of allergy

Verena Niederberger has a broad expertise in molecular, cellular and clinical allergology. She has conducted the first immunotherapy trial with recombinant hypoallergenic allergen derivatives and has utilized recombinant allergens and allergen-derivatives to study pathomechanisms in allergic patients. She has previously shown that nasal contact to allergens can induce a systemic rise of allergen-specific IgE levels which is associated with increased systemic sensitivity to allergen contact. Furthermore, she has demonstrated in nasal provocation experiments that the systemic rise of IgE antibodies in allergic patients requires intact, folded allergen carrying IgE- as well as T cell-epitopes and is not achieved with unfolded hypoallergenic allergen fragments carrying only T cell epitopes but lacking IgE reactivity. Niederberger now plans to investigate systematically various tissues from allergic and non-allergic human subjects (nasal mucosa, nasal polyps, adenoids, tracheal mucosa, lung parenchyma, lymph nodes, oral mucosa, tonsils, gut, spleen and bone marrow) regarding structure and cellular composition of immune cells, presence of specific IgE production, and IgE VH repertoires. Furthermore, she aims to isolate and characterize cells involved in secondary IgE production. Other goals are to define factors which influence the barrier functions of the respiratory mucosa against allergen intrusion and to explore local therapeutic strategies which prevent allergen-induced symptoms and boosts of IgE production. Thus the project should determine factors enhancing or disturbing respiratory epithelial barrier, define IgE producing cells as well as underlying mechanisms of IgE production and explore preventive and therapeutic strategies suitable for targeting via the respiratory mucosa.


Niederberger VAo. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Verena Niederberger-Leppin
Universitätsklinik für HNO-Krankheiten
AKH, Medizinische Universität Wien
Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Wien
T: +43 1 40400 34380
F: +43 1 25 330 338 567
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Eckl-Dorna, J., I. Pree, J. Reisinger, K. Marth, K.W. Chen, S. Vrtala, S. Spitzauer, R. Valenta, V. Niederberger. 2012. The majority of allergen-specific IgE in the blood of allergic patients does not originate from blood-derived B cells or plasma cells. Clin Exp Allergy 42:1347-1355.
PMID: 23229638

Pree, I., M.H. Shamji, I. Kimber, R. Valenta, S. R. Durham, V. Niederberger. 2010. Inhibition of CD23-dependent facilitated allergen binding to B cells following vaccination with genetically modified hypoallergenic Bet v 1 molecules. Clin Exp Allergy 40:1346-1352.
PMID: 20604801

Gangl, K., R. Reininger, D. Bernhard, R. Campana, I. Pree, J. Reisinger, M. Kneidinger, M. Kundi, H. Dolznig, D. Thurnher, P. Valent, K.W. Chen, S. Vrtala, S. Spitzauer, R. Valenta, V. Niederberger. 2009. Cigarette smoke facilitates allergen penetration across respiratory epithelium.Allergy 64:398-405.
PMID: 19120070

Reisinger, J., A. Triendl, E. Küchler, B. Bohle, M.T. Krauth, I. Rauter, P. Valent, F. Koenig, R. Valenta, V. Niederberger. 2005.  IFN-gamma-enhanced allergen penetration across respiratory epithelium augments allergic inflammation. J Allergy Clin Immunol 115:973-981.

Niederberger, V., F. Horak, S. Vrtala, S. Spitzauer, M.T. Krauth, P. Valent, J. Reisinger, M. Pelzmann, B. Hayek, M. Kronqvist, G. Gafvelin, H. Grönlund, A. Purohit, R. Suck, H. Fiebig, O. Cromwell, G. Pauli, M. van Hage-Hamsten, R. Valenta. 2004. Vaccination with genetically engineered allergens prevents progression of allergic disease.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101:14677-14682.
PMID: 15310844