Food allergies manifest in a variety of clinical conditions within the gastrointestinal tract, skin and lungs, with the most dramatic and sometimes fatal manifestation being anaphylactic shock. Major progress has been made in basic, translational and clinical research, leading to a better understanding of the underlying immunological mechanisms that lead to the breakdown of clinical and immunological tolerance against food antigens, which can result in either immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated reactions or non-IgE-mediated reactions. Lifestyle factors, dietary habits and maternal-neonatal interactions play a pivotal part in triggering the onset of food allergies, including qualitative and quantitative composition of the microbiota. These factors seem to have the greatest influence early in life, an observation that has led to the generation of hypotheses to explain the food allergy epidemic, including the dual-allergen exposure hypothesis. These hypotheses have fuelled research in preventive strategies that seek to establish desensitization to allergens and/or tolerance to allergens in affected individuals. Allergen-nonspecific therapeutic strategies have also been investigated in a number of clinical trials, which will eventually improve the treatment options for patients with food allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17098
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
StatePublished - 4 Jan 2018


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