An animal study published online Nov. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation links skin sensitization, gastrointestinal inflammation and food allergy.
The mouse study revealed food allergy results when skin is exposed to both peanut or egg protein food antigen and the proinflammatory cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), and when the mice are subsequently challenged orally with the same food antigen.
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Allergic reactions were severe, including diarrhea and anaphylaxis, when mice subsequently ingested the antigen.
TSLP was required for skin sensitization to antigen; however, development of allergic responses in the gut required the IL-25 protein. Mice lacking the IL-25 receptor did not develop acute diarrhea and anaphylaxis.
“These data suggest that blockade of TSLP may be an effective means of inhibiting epicutaneous sensitization, while IL-25 blockade may be used to treat food allergic responses,” study author Steven F. Ziegler, Ph.D., immunology program director at the Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, wrote to Dermatology Times.
Notably, mice given antigen orally before skin sensitization did not develop allergic responses, suggesting that induction of oral tolerance can affect development of food allergic responses, he wrote.
The study also provides a mouse model for skin-induced food allergy development that could help researchers test potential treatment interventions.
Reference: Han H, Thelen TD, Comeau MR, Ziegler SF. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin-mediated epicutaneous inflammation promotes acute diarrhea and anaphylaxis. J Clin Invest. 2014 Nov 3.