Factors Predisposing to Food Allergy

  • J. F. Soothill
Part of the Ettore Majorana International Science Series book series (volume 8)


Though ill-conceived scepticism is widespread, food allergy is an important cause of disease, and our knowledge of the handling of food antigens results in the perennial doubt -- why do we not all have it? Food antigens are taken up in immunologically considerable quantities (although this is only a very small proportion of what we eat, so digestion and the mucosa are important barriers). Responses occur in all of us to these food antigens -- antibody responses, immune exclusion and partial tolerance -- so the puzzle is not why food allergy occurs, but how do most of us avoid an anaphylactic death after eating food. There are presumable elaborate control systems but since they are poorly understood, their possible defects, which would be expected to contribute to food allergy, are even less clear, but some clinical observations are pointing the way. Allergy, generglly, is associated with a range of common minor iumiunodeficiencies(1), and food allergic subjects take up more food antigen and process it differently (IgG and IgE complexes rather than IgA)(2,3).


Food Allergy Atopic Disease Food Antigen Atopic Subject Partial Tolerance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Soothill
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Child HealthUniversity of LondonUK

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