Deciphering the black box of food allergy mechanisms. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Sampath, V., Tupa, D., Graham, M. T., Chatila, T. A., Spergel, J. M., Nadeau, K. C. 2017; 118 (1): 21-27


To review our current understanding of immunotherapy, the immune mechanisms underlying food allergy, and the methodological advances that are furthering our understanding of the role of immune cells and other molecules in mediating food allergies.Literature searches were performed using the following combination of terms: allergy, immunotherapy, food, and mechanisms. Data from randomized clinical studies using state-of-the-art mechanistic tools were prioritized.Articles were selected based on their relevance to food allergy.Current standard of care for food allergies is avoidance of allergenic foods and the use of epinephrine in case of severe reaction during unintentional ingestion. During the last few decades, great strides have been made in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying food allergy, and this information is spearheading the development of exciting new treatments.Immunotherapy protocols are effective in desensitizing individuals to specific allergens; however, recurrence of allergic sensitization is common after discontinuation of therapy. Interestingly, in a subset of individuals, immunotherapy is protective against allergens even after discontinuation of immunotherapy. Whether this protection is permanent is currently unknown because of inadequate long-term follow-up data. Research on understanding the underlying mechanisms may assist in modifying protocols to improve outcome and enable sustained unresponsiveness, rather than a temporary relief against food allergies. The cellular changes brought about by immunotherapy are still a black box, but major strides in our understanding are being made at an exciting pace.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.anai.2016.10.017

View details for PubMedID 28007085

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5193239