Pediatric food allergy and mucosal tolerance.
The gastrointestinal (GI) mucosal immune response is characterized by an intricate balance between host defense and immunoregulation. A principal element of this normal response is acquisition of oral tolerance. Aberrations in oral tolerance induction can lead to food allergy, an increasingly prevalent disorder that causes significant medical and psychosocial stressors for patients and families. At present there is no definitive therapy for food allergy and the mainstays of treatment are allergen avoidance, nutritional support, and ready access to emergency medications. Significant progress toward an active therapy for food allergy has been made with the advent of novel therapies such as oral immunotherapy (OIT) and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which modulate the GI mucosal immune response with the goal of promoting oral tolerance. In this review, we will examine the mechanisms of oral tolerance induction and its relation to food allergy and explore novel immunotherapeutic strategies for treatment and prevention of food allergy.
Scurlock, AM; Vickery, BP; Hourihane, JO; Burks, AW
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