Allergen-Specific T Cells in IgE-Mediated Food Allergy
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Food allergy is the major reason for severe anaphylaxis in childhood and adolescence. Currently, effective and safe treatments for food allergy are unavailable. Allergen-specific CD4+ T cells have a pivotal role in causing and maintaining the allergic response to food allergens. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview on the role of allergen-specific T cells in food allergy during allergic sensitization, natural tolerance development and allergen immunotherapy. Allergen-specific T cells in the context of food allergy are predominantly of a Th2 type with slightly different surface marker expression patterns in different food allergies. During the process of reverting food allergy to a status of tolerance or sustained unresponsiveness there is a loss of this Th2 committed compartment with an asymptotic approximation to a regulatory and Th0/Th1 dominated compartment seen in non-allergic individuals. This process is accompanied by a significant reduction of absolute frequencies of allergen-specific T cells. Particularly, regulatory T cells may provide significant help to achieve sustained control of the effector cell populations via suppression of effector cell function and possibly induction of blocking antibodies.
KeywordsAllergy IgE-mediated food allergy Helper T cells Th2 cells Regulatory T cells
This work was supported by Grants from: Islamic Development Bank Merit Scholarship Programme for 1433H (2012-13), HSBC Bank Canada Catalyst Research Grant from The Hospital for Sick Children, Innovation Fund Denmark #6159-00005A.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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