Normal immune responses to ingested foods

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000;30 Suppl:S13-9. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200001001-00003.


This is a short review of the literature with a bias toward the author's work. Small amounts of dietary antigens are taken up into the circulation. B-cell responses to foods (antibodies and antibody-secreting cells) occur as a physiological event locally and in the circulation in all three major immunoglobulin classes. A low levels of IgE is also a normal phenomenon. IgA anti-gliadin antibodies represent an exception. Antibody titers in general tend to decline with age. T-cell responses specific for foods are low in the circulation of healthy subjects. T-cell cytokines are more frequently produced in the gastrointestinal mucosa compared with the circulation. Results indicate that the phenomenon of oral tolerance takes place in humans. Oral tolerance within the T cell system may represent an important regulatory mechanism for normal immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Digestive System / immunology
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunity*
  • Mouth / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens