Non-pulmonary allergic diseases and inflammatory bowel disease: a qualitative review

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug 28;20(32):11023-32. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i32.11023.


While the etiological underpinnings of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are highly complex, it has been noted that both clinical and pathophysiological similarities exist between IBD and both asthma and non-pulmonary allergic phenomena. In this review, several key points on common biomarkers, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and nutritional and probiotic interventions for both IBD and non-pulmonary allergic diseases are discussed. Histamine and mast cell activity show common behaviors in both IBD and in certain allergic disorders. IgE also represents a key immunoglobulin involved in both IBD and in certain allergic pathologies, though these links require further study. Probiotics remain a critically important intervention for both IBD subtypes as well as multiple allergic phenomena. Linked clinical phenomena, especially sinonasal disease and IBD, are discussed. In addition, nutritional interventions remain an underutilized and promising therapy for modification of both allergic disorders and IBD. Recommending new mothers breastfeed their infants, and increasing the duration of breastfeeding may also help prevent both IBD and allergic diseases, but requires more investigation. While much remains to be discovered, it is clear that non-pulmonary allergic phenomena are connected to IBD in a myriad number of ways and that the discovery of common immunological pathways may usher in an era of vastly improved treatments for patients.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Crohn’s disease; Food allergies; Food intolerance; Inflammatory bowel disease; Nutrition; Pathophysiology; Probiotics; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity* / blood
  • Hypersensitivity* / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity* / microbiology
  • Hypersensitivity* / physiopathology
  • Hypersensitivity* / therapy
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / blood
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / microbiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Intestines* / immunology
  • Intestines* / microbiology
  • Intestines* / physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation Mediators