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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Dec;17(12):1279-85.

Gut barrier dysfunction in food allergy.

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Faculté de Médecine Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France.


Intestinal permeability tests used in the diagnosis of allergic diseases in response to oral food challenge have led to the conclusion that constitutive defects of the intestinal barrier are not the primary cause of allergic diseases. However, perturbation of environmental factors (infection, stress), by increasing intestinal permeability and enhancing danger signals, may favour food allergy in susceptible individuals. The mechanisms of enhanced permeability to specific and bystander antigens have been delineated as well as the molecular events involved in the sequential phases of allergic reactions. Intestinal absorption of food antigens and immune responses are mutually dependent, and luminal (environmental) and serosal (intrinsic) factors synergize to maintain a self-perpetuating cycle in which antigens penetrate the mucosa and induce allergic inflammation.

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