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J Immunol Methods. 2012 Jul 31;381(1-2):41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

A shorter and more specific oral sensitization-based experimental model of food allergy in mice.

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Department of Pharmacology, Center for Biomedical Research, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


Cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA) is one of the most prevalent human food-borne allergies, particularly in children. Experimental animal models have become critical tools with which to perform research on new therapeutic approaches and on the molecular mechanisms involved. However, oral food allergen sensitization in mice requires several weeks and is usually associated with unspecific immune responses. To overcome these inconveniences, we have developed a new food allergy model that takes only two weeks while retaining the main characters of allergic response to food antigens. The new model is characterized by oral sensitization of weaned Balb/c mice with 5 doses of purified cow's milk protein (CMP) plus cholera toxin (CT) for only two weeks and posterior challenge with an intraperitoneal administration of the allergen at the end of the sensitization period. In parallel, we studied a conventional protocol that lasts for seven weeks, and also the non-specific effects exerted by CT in both protocols. The shorter protocol achieves a similar clinical score as the original food allergy model without macroscopically affecting gut morphology or physiology. Moreover, the shorter protocol caused an increased IL-4 production and a more selective antigen-specific IgG1 response. Finally, the extended CT administration during the sensitization period of the conventional protocol is responsible for the exacerbated immune response observed in that model. Therefore, the new model presented here allows a reduction not only in experimental time but also in the number of animals required per experiment while maintaining the features of conventional allergy models. We propose that the new protocol reported will contribute to advancing allergy research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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