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. 2016 Oct;37(10):659-667.
doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Sep 3.

Balancing Tolerance or Allergy to Food Proteins

Free PMC article

Balancing Tolerance or Allergy to Food Proteins

Paul J Bryce. Trends Immunol. .
Free PMC article


Dietary proteins usually induce immune tolerance, but may trigger life-threatening immune responses in the case of food allergy. The associated type 2 immunity, linked with specific IgE production and the activation of mast cells and basophils, is well understood but the mechanisms related to preventing food allergy are still being deciphered. Recent insights into the mechanisms that regulate oral tolerance and dietary antigen sampling have revealed unique regulatory events that occur during early life and into adulthood. Drawing from both recent clinical and experimental discoveries, this article focuses on current evidence for how several key stages of life present mechanistic points that might participate in tipping the balance between food protein tolerance and allergy.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Factors Influencing Tolerance and Allergy to Dietary Antigens Across Development
Throughout life, a progression of positive and negative factors might contribute to the fate of immune responsiveness to dietary antigens. In childhood, early events related to establishment of oral tolerance and control of antigen priming processes protect from becoming sensitized. Later in life, natural tolerance might develop in some food allergic individuals while some adults develop de novo food allergy. Tolerogenic factors are pictured in green, while factors involved in allergy development are pictured in red. Abbreviations used: TSLP, thymic stromal lymphopoietin, Treg, regulatory T cell

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