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Transport of Pru p 3 across gastrointestinal epithelium – an essential step towards the induction of food allergy?




Since intestinal absorption of food protein can trigger an allergic reaction, the effect of plant food allergen on intestinal epithelial cell permeability and its ability to cross the epithelial monolayer was evaluated.


To study the interaction of Pru p 3 with intestinal epithelium, its natural entrance, analyzing transport kinetics and cellular responses that trigger.


This was achieved using Pru p 3, the peach LTP, as a model. Enterocytic monolayers were established by culturing Caco 2 cells, as a model of enterocytes, on permeable supports that separate the apical and basal compartments. Pru p 3 was added to the apical compartment, the transepithelial resistance (TEER) was measured, and the transport was quantified.


The peach allergen that crossed the cell monolayer was detected in the cell fraction and in the basal medium by immunodetection with specific antibodies and the quantity was measured by ELISA assay. Pru p 3 was able to cross the monolayer without disturbing the integrity of the tight junctions. This transport was significantly higher than that of a non-allergenic peach LTP, LTP1, and occurred via lipid raft pathway. The incubation of Caco 2 cells with Pru p 3 and LTP1 produced the expression of epithelial-specific cytokines TSLP, IL33 and IL25.


These results suggest that Pru p 3 was able to cross the cell monolayer by the transcellular route and then induce the production of Th2 cytokines. The results of the present study represent a step towards clarifying the importance of Pru p 3 as a sensitizer.

Clinical relevance

The capacity of food allergens to cross the intestinal monolayer could explain their high allergenic capacity and its fast diffusion through the body associating to severe symptoms.