Analysis of Allergen-Specific T Cell and IgE Reactivity to Different Preparations of Cow's Milk-Containing Food Extracts

Cells. 2019 Jul 2;8(7):667. doi: 10.3390/cells8070667.


Background: cow's milk allergy (CM) is among the most common food allergies in young children and is often outgrown by adulthood. Prior to developing a tolerance to CM, a majority of CM-allergic children may tolerate extensively-heated CM. This study aims to characterize the IgE- and T cell-reactivity to unheated CM and the progressively more heated CM-containing foods.

Methods: CM-containing food extracts from muffin, baked cheese, custard and raw, pasteurized CM commercial extract were tested for skin prick test reactivity, IgE binding and T cell reactivity as assessed by IL-5 and IFNγ production.

Results: the skin prick test (SPT) reactivity was significantly decreased to muffin extract compared to raw, pasteurized CM. Both IgE- and T-cell reactivity were readily detectable against food extracts from all forms of CM. Western blot analysis of IgE reactivity revealed variability between extracts that was protein-specific. T cell-reactivity was detected against all four extracts with no significant difference in IL-5 or IFNγ production between them.

Conclusion: our data indicate that despite reduced clinical reactivity, extracts from heated CM-containing foods retain immunogenicity when tested in vitro, particularly at the T cell level.

Keywords: IgE; T cells; allergen extract; baked milk; cow’s milk allergy; extensively-heated milk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-5 / immunology
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Milk / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Skin Tests
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • IFNG protein, human
  • IL5 protein, human
  • Interleukin-5
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interferon-gamma