Intestinal B cell-activating factor: an indicator of non-IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions to food?

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jul;32(1):66-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04314.x. Epub 2010 Mar 26.


Background: Medically confirmed hypersensitivity reactions to food are usually IgE-mediated. Non-IgE-mediated reactions are not only seldom recognized but also more difficult to diagnose.

Aim: To examine B cell-activating factor (BAFF) in serum and gut lavage fluid of patients with self-reported food hypersensitivity, and to study its relationship to atopic disease.

Methods: Gut lavage fluid was obtained from 60 and serum from another 17 patients with self-reported food hypersensitivity. Twenty healthy volunteers served as controls, gut lavage fluid was obtained in all, serum from 11 of 20. The patients were divided into atopic and non-atopic subgroups. BAFF was measured by ELISA in both serum and gut lavage fluid.

Results: B cell-activating factor levels in serum and gut lavage fluid were significantly higher in patients than in controls (P < 0.03 and P < 0.002 respectively). Non-atopic patients had significantly higher levels of BAFF in serum than both atopic patients (P < 0.05) and controls (P < 0.05). There was no significant correlation between serum levels of BAFF and IgE.

Conclusions: The results suggest that BAFF might be a new mediating mechanism in food hypersensitivity reactions. Significantly higher levels in non-atopic compared with atopic patients, and no correlation between BAFF and IgE, suggest that BAFF might be involved particularly in non-IgE-mediated reactions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / immunology*
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / physiology
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Biomarkers