Food antigen causes TH2-dependent enteropathy followed by tissue repair in T-cell receptor transgenic mice

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Clarification of the mechanisms underlying the development of food-sensitive intestinal inflammation will provide an important clue to combating food allergies.


To establish a model of intestinal inflammation caused by oral administration of antigen without additional treatments, we focused on the ovalbumin (OVA) 23–3 T-cell receptor transgenic mouse, which had been reported to have high serum antigen-specific IgE responses to the feeding of an egg white diet.


Changes in body weight of mice fed an egg white diet were monitored throughout the 28-day experimental period. After the 28-day feeding, intestinal tissues were harvested for histologic examination. Endogenous production of cytokines and histamine in the jejunum, and production of cytokines secreted by OVA-specific CD4+ T cells purified from mesenteric lymph nodes, were analyzed.


Egg white diet–fed OVA23-3 mice developed weight loss and inflammation with villous atrophy and goblet cell hyperplasia, especially in the jejunum. A further characteristic feature was evidence of weight recovery and tissue repair. Jejunal inflammation was also observed in egg white diet–fed recombination activating gene (RAG)-2–deficient OVA23-3 mice. In addition, tissue sections revealed significant infiltration of specific IgE-positive cells and IgE-positive degranulating mast cells. Higher levels of IL-4 and significant levels of histamine were detected in the tissues. In the supernatant of OVA-stimulated T cells, IL-10 levels were also markedly elevated.


We report that high-dose and continuous intake of primitive OVA alone induces enteropathy containing regions under repair in OVA23-3 mice. Antigen-specific T cells and inflammatory cells primed by TH2 responses play important roles in regulation of development and improvement of the disease.

Clinical implications

Long-term antigen intake causes TH2-dependent and food-sensitive enteropathy followed by tissue repair.

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