The role of protein digestibility and antacids on food allergy outcomes

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Abstract

Digestion assays with simulated gastric fluid have been introduced for characterization of food proteins to imitate the effect of stomach proteolysis on dietary compoundsin vitro. By using these tests, dietary proteins can be categorized as digestion-resistant class 1 (true allergens triggering direct oral sensitization) or as labile class 2 allergens (nonsensitizing elicitors). Thus the results of these digestion assays mirror situations of intact gastric proteolysis. Alterations in the gastric milieu are frequently experienced during a lifetime either physiologically in the very young and the elderly or as a result of gastrointestinal pathologies. Additionally, acid-suppression medications are frequently used for treatment of dyspeptic disorders. By increasing the gastric pH, they interfere substantially with the digestive function of the stomach, leading to persistence of labile food protein during gastric transit. Indeed, both murine and human studies reveal that antiulcer medication increases the risk of food allergy induction. Gastric digestion substantially decreases the potential of food proteins to bind IgE, which increases the threshold dose of allergens required to elicit symptoms in patients with food allergy. Thus antiulcer agents impeding gastric protein digestion have a major effect on the sensitization and effector phase of food allergy.

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