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Keywords:

  • cow’s milk allergy;
  • mouse model;
  • oral sensitization;
  • acute allergic skin response;
  • experimental partial whey hydrolysate;
  • prevention;
  • treatment;
  • whey-specific antibodies;
  • MCP-1;
  • β-lactoglobulin

van Esch BCAM, Schouten B, Hofman GA, van Baalen T, Nijkamp FP, Knippels LMJ, Willemsen LEM, Garssen J. Acute allergic skin response as a new tool to evaluate the allergenicity of whey hydrolysates in a mouse model of orally induced cow’s milk allergy. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: e780–e786. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Hypoallergenic milk formulae are used for cow’s milk allergic infants and may be a good option for infants at risk. Clinical studies have shown that the protein source or the hydrolysis methodology used may influence the effectiveness in infants stressing the importance of adequate pre-clinical testing of hypoallergenic formulae in an in vivo model of orally induced cow’s milk allergy. This study was undertaken to introduce a new read-out system to measure the residual allergenicity of whey hydrolysates on both the sensitization and challenge phase of orally induced cow’s milk allergy in mice. Mice were sensitized orally to whey or a partial whey hydrolysate (pWH) to measure the residual sensitizing capacity. To predict the residual allergenicity of hydrolysates, whey allergic mice were challenged in the ear with pWH, extensive whey hydrolysate or an amino acid-based formula. An acute allergic skin response (ear swelling at 1 h), whey-specific serum antibodies, and local MCP-1 concentrations were measured. In contrast to whey, oral sensitization with pWH did not result in the induction of whey-specific antibodies, although a minor residual skin response to whey was observed after challenge. Skin exposure to whey hydrolysates showed a hydrolysation dependent reduction of the acute allergic skin response in whey allergic mice. In contrast to whey, skin exposure to pWH did not enhance tissue MCP-1 levels. The acute allergic skin response in mice orally sensitized to cow’s milk proteins reveals a new pre-clinical tool which might provide information about the residual sensitizing capacity of hydrolysates supporting the discussion on the use of hypoallergenic formulae in high risk children. This mouse model might be a relevant model for the screening of new hypoallergenic formulae aimed to prevent or treat cow’s milk allergy.