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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2002 Jun;66(6):1287-94.

Induction of oral tolerance in mice by continuous feeding with beta-lactoglobulin and milk.

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  • 1Department of Animal Products Research, National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Inashiki, Ibaraki, Japan.


We examined the immune response of mice to beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), a potent milk allergen, after continuous feeding of a BLG solution or milk instead of drinking-water. Strong suppression of the anti-BLG antibody response and antigen-specific T cell response were observed in mice fed BLG and milk. Although the profile of the antibody specificity to BLG peptides in mice fed BLG or milk was different from the control, the dominant determinants were still recognized and a limited number of new recognition sites appeared by BLG or milk feeding. These findings suggest that continuous feeding with BLG or milk not only induced tolerance in the periphery, but also priming. In terms of the antigen-specific IgG subclass response, the production of both IgG1 and IgG2a was significantly reduced. The cytokine secretion of interleukin (IL)-2, IFN-gamma and IL-10 was also reduced in the culture supernatants of lymph node cells from the mice fed BLG. The results indicate that the continuous feeding of BLG or milk induces suppression of both Th1- and Th2-dependent responses. This may reflect a state of oral tolerance induced by food ingestion.

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