Food allergy is a major public health problem, for which there is no effective treatment. We examined the immunological changes that occurred in a group of children with significant cow's milk allergy undergoing a novel and rapid high-dose oral desensitization protocol enabled by treatment with omalizumab (anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)E monoclonal antibodies). Within a week of treatment, the CD4 + T-cell response to milk was nearly eliminated, suggesting anergy in, or deletion of, milk-specific CD4 + T cells. Over the following 3 months while the subjects remained on high doses of daily oral milk, the CD4 + T-cell response returned, characterized by a shift from interleukin-4 to interferon-γ production. Desensitization was also associated with reduction in milk-specific IgE and a 15-fold increase in milk-specific IgG4. These studies suggest that high-dose oral allergen desensitization may be associated with deletion of allergen-specific T cells, without the apparent development of allergen-specific Foxp3 + regulatory T cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy