Allergen-specific T cells and clinical features of food allergy: Lessons from CoFAR immunotherapy cohorts

M. Cecilia Berin, Charuta Agashe, A. Wesley Burks, David Chiang, Wendy F. Davidson, Peter Dawson, Alexander Grishin, Alice K. Henning, Stacie M. Jones, Edwin H. Kim, Donald Y.M. Leung, Madhan Masilamani, Amy M. Scurlock, Scott H. Sicherer, Robert A. Wood, Hugh A. Sampson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Allergen-specific IL-4+ and IL-13+ CD4+ cells (type 2 cells) are essential for helping B cells to class-switch to IgE and establishing an allergic milieu in the gastrointestinal tract. The role of T cells in established food allergy is less clear. Objective: We examined the food allergen–specific T-cell response in participants of 2 food allergen immunotherapy trials to assess the relationship of the T-cell response to clinical phenotypes, including response to immunotherapy. Methods: Blood was obtained from 84 participants with peanut allergy and 142 participants with egg allergy who underwent double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges. Peanut- and egg-responsive T cells were identified by CD154 upregulation after stimulation with the respective extract. Intracellular cytokines and chemokine receptors were also detected. The response to peanut epicutaneous immunotherapy (Peanut Epicutaneous Phase II Immunotherapy Clinical Trial [CoFAR6]; 49 participants receiving epicutaneous immunotherapy) and egg oral immunotherapy or a baked egg diet (Baked Egg or Egg Oral Immunotherapy for Children With Egg Allergy [CoFAR7]; 92 participants) was monitored over time. Results: Peanut-specific type 2 and CCR6+ T cells were negatively correlated with each other and differently associated with immune parameters, including specific IgE level and basophil activation test result. At baseline, type 2 cells, but not CCR6+ cells, were predictive of clinical parameters, including a successfully consumed dose of peanut and baked egg tolerance. Exposure to peanut or egg immunotherapy was associated with a decrease in type 2 cell frequency. At baseline, high egg-specific type 2 cell frequency was the immune feature most predictive of oral immunotherapy failure. Conclusion: Food-specific type 2 T cells at baseline are informative of threshold of reactivity and response to immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1382.e12
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • T cells
  • T2 cells
  • basophil activation test
  • double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge
  • epicutaneous immunotherapy
  • immunoglobulins
  • oral immunotherapy


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