The role of the commensal microbiota in the regulation of tolerance to dietary allergens

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Jun;15(3):243-9. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000157.


Purpose of review: We review the evidence that environmental stimuli that perturb naturally selected host-microbe interactions are driving the increasing prevalence of food allergy and examine the mechanisms by which commensal bacteria regulate tolerance to dietary allergens.

Recent findings: Antibiotic use and the consumption of a high-fat/low-fiber diet have a major and rapid impact on gut bacterial populations, with long-term consequences for both overall microbial community structure and the regulation of host immunity. Recent work emphasizes the role of mucosa-associated commensal bacteria in eliciting a barrier-protective response critical to preventing allergic sensitization to food. Murine model studies are informing the development of novel live biotherapeutic approaches as an adjunctive therapy to enhance antigen-specific oral desensitization and to promote lasting tolerance in patients with food allergy.

Summary: Strategies based on modulating the composition and/or functionality of the gut microbiome hold promise for the treatment of food allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / immunology*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / immunology
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Food Hypersensitivity* / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Intestines* / immunology
  • Intestines* / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Microbiota / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber