The alarming increase in the incidence and severity of food allergies has coincided with lifestyle changes in Western societies, such as dietary modifications and increased antibiotic use. These demographic shifts have profoundly altered the coevolved relationship between host and microbiota, depleting bacterial populations critical for the maintenance of mucosal homeostasis. There is increasing evidence that the dysbiosis associated with sensitization to food fails to stimulate protective tolerogenic pathways, leading to the development of the type 2 immune responses that characterize allergic disease. Defining the role of beneficial allergy-protective members of the microbiota in the regulation of tolerance to food has exciting potential for new interventions to treat dietary allergies by modulation of the microbiota.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 AI 106302, the Sunshine Foundation, The University of Chicago Center for Translational Medicine, The University of Chicago Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (Grant DK42086), and Food Allergy Research and Education.
Abbreviations used in this article:
- dendritic cell
- food Ag–specific Th2 cell
- goblet cell–associated Ag passage
- innate lymphoid cell
- lymph node
- mesenteric lymph node
- retinoic acid
- short-chain fatty acid
- regulatory T cell.
- Received July 22, 2016.
- Accepted August 23, 2016.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.