The role of regulatory T cells in the acquisition of tolerance to food allergens in children

Main Article Content

E. Bernaldo de Quiros
E. Seoane-Reula
E. Alonso-Lebrero
M. Pion
R. Correa-Rocha

Keywords

Children, Food allergy, Oral tolerance, Tregs, Vitamin D

Abstract

Food allergy is a pathological immune reaction that identifies certain harmless food proteins, usually tolerated by the majority of the people, as a threat. The prevalence of these food allergies is increasing worldwide and currently affects 8% of children. Exacerbated reactions to milk, egg and peanut are the most frequent in the pediatric population. It is well known that allergic diseases are a type 2 T-helper (Th2) immune response, characterized by the elevated production of IgE antibodies. However, little is known about the immune mechanisms responsible for the development of clinical tolerance toward food allergens. Recent studies have suggested the key role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in controlling allergic inflammation. In this review, we discuss the importance of Tregs in the pathogenesis of food allergy and the acquisition of oral tolerance in children. Further investigation in this area will be crucial for the identification of predictive markers and the development of new therapies, which will represent a clinical and social benefit for these allergic diseases.

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