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Keywords:

  • acute allergic skin response;
  • allergic sensitization;
  • cow's milk allergy;
  • dendritic cell;
  • fish oil;
  • immunoglobulins;
  • long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids;
  • mast cell;
  • regulatory T cell;
  • T cell subsets

Summary

Background

Cow's milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and no treatment is available. Dietary lipid composition may affect the susceptibility to develop allergic disease.

Objective

Assess whether dietary supplementation with long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) prevents the establishment of food allergy.

Methods

Mice were fed a control or fish oil diet before and during oral sensitization with whey. Acute allergic skin response, serum immunoglobulins as well as dendritic cell (DC) and T cell subsets in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), spleen and/or small intestine were assessed.

Results

The acute allergic skin response was reduced by more than 50% in sensitized mice fed the fish oil diet compared to the control diet. In addition, anti-whey-IgE and anti-whey-IgG1 levels were decreased in the fish oil group. Serum transfer confirmed that the Th2-type humoral response was suppressed since sera of fish oil fed sensitized mice had a diminished capacity to induce an allergic effector response in naïve recipient mice compared to control sera. Furthermore, the acute skin response was diminished upon passive sensitization in fish oil fed naïve recipient mice. In addition, the percentage of activated Th1 cells was reduced by fish oil in spleen and MLN of sham mice. The percentage of activated Th2 cells was reduced in both sham- and whey-sensitized mice. In contrast, whey-sensitized mice showed an increased percentage of CD11b+CD103+CD8α- DC in MLN in association with enhanced FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) in spleen and intestine of fish oil fed whey-sensitized mice compared to sham mice.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Dietary n-3 LCPUFA largely prevented allergic sensitization in a murine model for cow's milk allergy by suppressing the humoral response, enhancing local intestinal and systemic Treg and reducing acute allergic symptoms, suggesting future applications for the primary prevention of food allergy.