Animal models of food allergy: Opportunities and barriers
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The potential for animal models to mimic the human disease process makes them an attractive tool for determining disease mechanisms, predicting disease triggers, and testing treatment regimens. With this in mind, animal models of food allergy have been receiving increasing attention as research tools to answer some of the difficult questions regarding food-allergy disease. Most of the food-allergy animal models developed to date have been designed to test reagents for immunotherapeutic treatment of allergic disease and to predict the potential human allergenicity of proteins. Current animal models under development are rodent, swine, and dog. The variables affecting development of such models include allergen concentration, allergen matrix or food source, allergen route of exposure, duration, animal age, adjuvant use, and dose range of allergens. Each model presents opportunities for and barriers to a fuller understanding of the allergic response. The conditions inherent to each model and the intended purpose of the study should therefore be considered prior to its use.
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