Biomarkers in Food Allergy Immunotherapy
Purpose of Review
Investigational allergen immunotherapies (AITs) including oral immunotherapy (OIT), sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), and epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) have proven to increase allergen thresholds required to elicit an allergic reaction in a majority of subjects. However, these studies lack consistent biomarkers to predict therapy outcomes. Here, we will review biomarkers that are currently being investigated for AIT.
The mechanisms underlying the therapeutic benefit of AIT involve various cell types, including mast cells, basophils, T cells, and B cells. Skin prick and basophil activation tests assess effector cell sensitivity to allergen and are decreased in subjects on AIT. Allergen-specific IgE increases initially and decreases with continued therapy, while allergen-specific IgG and IgA increase throughout therapy. Allergen-induced regulatory T cells (Tregs) increase throughout therapy and were found to be associated with sustained unresponsiveness after OIT. Subjects on OIT and SLIT have decreased Th2 cytokine production during therapy.
Although trends have been reported, a common limitation of these biomarkers is that none are able to reproducibly predict prognosis during AIT. Further studies are needed to expand the currently available biomarker repertoire to provide personalized approaches to AIT.
KeywordsFood allergy Allergen Immunotherapy Biomarkers Basophils Tregs IgG4
Basophil activation test
Double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge
Mast cell activation test
Skin prick test
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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