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Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 4 (2002), Issue 2, Pages 119-132

Mathematical Modelling of Venom Immunotherapy

1Institute for Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 30, Leipzig D-04103, Germany
2Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Leipzig, Vor dem Hospitaltore 1, Leipzig D-04103, Germany

Received 27 February 2001; Accepted 10 January 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Allergic hypersensitivity of type I for hymenoptera venoms is the most frequent reason for acute IgE-mediated anaphylactic reactions. The subcutaneous injection of increasing doses of purified allergen followed by long-term administration of an adequate maintenance dose over a period of 3–5 years called venom immunotherapy (VIT) has been proven to be a very effective treatment achieving protection in about 96% of allergic patients. Even though the principle of hyposensitisation has been introduced already 90 years ago, the underlying immunoregulatory mechanisms of VIT remain poorly understood. Recent studies suggest a shift in cytokine production from a Th2 to a Th1 cytokine profile during therapy. In this paper, a mathematical model for T-cell regulation and a model for mast cell/basophil desensitisation are presented and analysed to explain the mechanism of conventional rush and ultra-rush VIT.