University of Oulu

Hanif, T., Ivaska, L. E., Ahmad, F., Tan, G., Mikola, E., Puhakka, T., Palomares, O., Akdis, C. A., Toppila‐Salmi, S., & Jartti, T. (2023). Tonsillar transcriptional profiles in atopic and non‐atopic subjects. Allergy, 78(2), 522–536.

Tonsillar transcriptional profiles in atopic and non-atopic subjects

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Author: Hanif, Tanzeela1,2; Ivaska, Lotta E.3; Ahmad, Freed4;
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
2Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Department of Biology University of Turku, Turku, Finland
5Functional Genomics Center Zurich, ETH Zürich/University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
6Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, University of Zürich, Davos, Switzerland
7Christine Kuhne-Center for Allergy Research and Education (CK-CARE), Davos, Switzerland
8Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Satakunta Central Hospital, Pori, Finland
9Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Chemistry, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
10Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki & Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
11PEDEGO Research Unit, Medical Research Center, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
12Department of Children and Adolescents, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-03-28


Background: Emerging research suggests that local lymphatic tissue such as tonsils have important role in regulating the immune responses. However, allergen sensitization-induced alterations in transcriptome of tonsils are not known.

Objective: To examine the key differences in tonsillar gene expression between atopic and non-atopic subjects and further by type of sensitization.

Methods: RNA-sequencing was performed on 52 tonsillar samples from atopic and non-atopic tonsillectomy patients. Sensitization to common food- and aero-allergen was defined by allergen specific IgE. Following groups were studied: (1) aero- and food-allergen sensitized (AS+FS) versus non-sensitized (NS), (2) aeroallergen-sensitized (AS) versus food-allergen sensitized (FS), (3) AS versus NS, (4) FS versus NS. Bioinformatics analysis was done using DESeq2(v3.10.2), WGCNA and GATK pipeline in R software (v3.3.1). Protein–protein interaction network was made from String database.

Results: We studied 13 aeroallergen-sensitized, 6 food-allergen sensitized, 4 both food-and aero-allergen-sensitized and 29 non-sensitized tonsillectomy patients. Overall, 697 unique differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected in all sensitized subgroups including chemokines (CXCL2, CXCL8, CXCL10, CXCL11), IL-20RA, MUC1 and MUC20. When comparing different groups, the gene expression profiles overlapped except the AS versus FS group comparison, suggesting significantly different gene expression between the two sensitization subgroups. Furthermore, aeroallergen-sensitized subjects had more prominent immune responses compared with non-sensitized and food-allergen sensitized subjects including gene expression for IL-17 pathway and Toll-like receptor signalling pathway.

Conclusion: Allergic sensitization is associated with extensive tonsillar transcriptomic alterations and changes in immune related genes and pathways. Distinct differences were found between aero-allergen and food-allergen sensitization.

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Series: Allergy
ISSN: 0105-4538
ISSN-E: 1398-9995
ISSN-L: 0105-4538
Volume: 78
Issue: 2
Pages: 522 - 536
DOI: 10.1111/all.15458
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3111 Biomedicine
Funding: This work was supported by Sigrid Juselius foundation, Instrumenterium foundation, The Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth foundation, Finnish and Norweigen medical foundation, Maud Kuistila foundation, Ida Montin foundation, Vaino and Laina Kivi foundation, Biomedicum foundation, TYKS foundation, Päivikki and Sakari Sohlbergin foundation, Allergy Research Foundation and The Paulo foundation. L.I. was supported by the Finnish ORL-HNS Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. E.M. was supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. All in Finland.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.