Dietary carotenoids inhibit oral sensitization and the development of food allergy

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 23;58(12):7180-6. doi: 10.1021/jf100519x.


Type-I allergic disorders and particularly food hypersensitivities are becoming increasingly common worldwide. This study investigated whether dietary enrichment with carotenoids inhibited oral sensitization to an antigen and the development of food allergies. The effects of a diet high in carotenoids were investigated in B10A mice that were orally sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA). The serum titers of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE), IgG1, and IgG2a were inhibited in mice fed ad libitum on a diet high in alpha- or beta-carotene compared to the control mice when orally sensitized to OVA. High alpha- and beta-carotene diets inhibited the immediate reduction in body temperature and rise in serum histamine associated with active systemic anaphylaxis in OVA-sensitized B10A mice. After re-stimulation with OVA in vitro, the production of T-helper 2-type cytokines by splenocytes from mice fed a diet high in carotenoids was lower than in control mice. Furthermore, the proportion of CD4(+) CD103(+) T cells in Peyer's patches of mice fed a carotenoid-rich diet was significantly lower than in control mice. These results suggest that an increased oral intake of carotenoids inhibits OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 production and antigen-induced anaphylactic responses by inhibiting specific T-cell activation in the mucosal immune system. A diet high in carotenoids might therefore prevent the development of food allergies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Mice
  • Ovalbumin / administration & dosage
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Carotenoids
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin