Outstanding animal studies in allergy I. From asthma to food allergy and anaphylaxis

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Purpose of review

Animal models published within the past 18 months on asthma, food allergy and anaphylaxis, all conditions of rising public health concern, were reviewed.

Recent findings

While domestic animals spontaneously develop asthma, food allergy and anaphylaxis, in animal models, divergent sensitization and challenge routes, dosages, intervals and antigens are used to induce asthmatic, food allergic or anaphylactic phenotypes. This must be considered in the interpretation of results. Instead of model antigens, gradually relevant allergens such as house dust mite in asthma, and food allergens like peanut, apple and peach in food allergy research were used. Novel engineered mouse models such as a mouse with a T-cell receptor for house dust mite allergen Der p 1, or with transgenic human hFcγR genes, facilitated the investigation of single molecules of interest. Whole-body plethysmography has become a state-of-the-art in-vivo readout in asthma research. In food allergy and anaphylaxis research, novel techniques were developed allowing real-time monitoring of in-vivo effects following allergen challenge. Networks to share tissues were established as an effort to reduce animal experiments in allergy which cannot be replaced by in-vitro measures.


Natural and artificial animal models were used to explore the pathophysiology of asthma, food allergy and anaphylaxis and to improve prophylactic and therapeutic measures. Especially the novel mouse models mimicking molecular aspects of the complex immune network in asthma, food allergy and anaphylaxis will facilitate proof-of-concept studies under controlled conditions.

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