Growing evidence points to an important role for the commensal microbiota in susceptibility to food allergy. Epidemiologic studies demonstrate associations between exposures known to modify the microbiome and risk of food allergy. Direct profiling of the gut microbiome in human cohort studies has demonstrated that individuals with food allergy have distinct gut microbiomes compared to healthy control subjects, and dysbiosis precedes the development of food allergy. Mechanistic studies in mouse models of food allergy have confirmed that the composition of the intestinal microbiota can imprint susceptibility or resistance to food allergy on the host and have identified a unique population of microbially responsive RORγt-positive FOXp3-positive regulatory T cells as critical for the maintenance of tolerance to foods. Armed with this new understanding of the role of the microbiota in food allergy and tolerance, therapeutics aimed at modifying the gastrointestinal microbiota are in development. In this article we review key milestones in the development of our current understanding of how the gastrointestinal microbiota contributes to food allergy and discuss our vision for the future of the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1468-1477
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Food allergy
  • dysbiosis
  • microbiome
  • microbiota
  • prebiotic
  • probiotic
  • regulatory T cells
  • short-chain fatty acids
  • symbiotic


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