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Keywords:

  • oral tolerance; intestinal epithelium; regulatory T cells; food allergens

Oral tolerance is an active non-response to antigens delivered via the oral route. Mechanisms governing tolerance induction have been well characterized in mouse. Similar studies in man are lacking, although there is evidence that tolerance can be induced. In disease states, tolerance is altered and this may account for the presence of mucosal inflammation. In food hypersensitivity there is evidence that allergens may be handled differently and this may play a role in disease expression.