Allergies, with Focus on Food Allergies, in Humans and Their Animals
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Hypersensitivity reactions to respiratory, ingested, percutaneously encountered, or injected allergens are classified according to different pathophysiological mechanisms. In the case that food causes the adverse reactions, most typically symptoms along the digestive route (oral allergy syndrome, angioedema, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea) but also systemic reactions (urticaria/hives, asthma, up to life-threatening anaphylaxis) may occur. On the contrary, food intolerance reactions are disagreeable but do not elicit dangerous systemic reactions. Therefore, it is important to diagnostically differentiate between immune-mediated hypersensitivities and the more harmless food intolerances. Principally, food adverse reactions may occur in all mammalian species.
To single out the suspected food in children and animal patients the allergist is much dependent on collaboration with parents or owners, respectively. For diagnosis of food allergies in humans and animals, evaluation of the allergen-specific serum IgE levels, skin tests, and sometimes elimination diets and oral provocation tests are performed. Intolerances are diagnosed via hydrogen breath test or blood glucose test, in addition to elimination diets.
The offending food allergen must be avoided. Clinical tolerization strategies and experimental immunotherapies have shown promising results. Symptomatic treatment may include the prescription of emergency self-medication in patients at risk for anaphylaxis.
Whereas mostly murine models are used for developing more effective diagnostic and treatment options for food allergies, we propose the systematic inclusion of companion animals as spontaneous food allergy models in examination and diagnosis of allergy.
KeywordsAtopic Dermatitis Food Allergy Food Allergen Food Intolerance Elimination Diet
Adverse food reaction
Double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge
High-affinity IgE receptor
Low-affinity IgE receptor
Food-induced atopic dermatitis
The work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund grant SFB F4606-B28.
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