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Chem Immunol Allergy. 2015;101:171-80. doi: 10.1159/000371700. Epub 2015 May 21.

Gastrointestinal food allergies.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition and Department of Allergy and Immunology, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Vic., and Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

Abstract

Gastrointestinal food allergies present during early childhood with a diverse range of symptoms. Cow's milk, soy and wheat are the three most common gastrointestinal food allergens. Several clinical syndromes have been described, including food protein-induced enteropathy, proctocolitis and enterocolitis. In contrast with immediate, IgE-mediated food allergies, the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms is delayed for at least 1-2 hours after ingestion in non-IgE-mediated allergic disorders. The pathophysiology of these non-IgE-mediated allergic disorders is poorly understood, and useful in vitro markers are lacking. The results of the skin prick test or measurement of the food-specific serum IgE level is generally negative, although low-positive results may occur. Diagnosis therefore relies on the recognition of a particular clinical phenotype as well as the demonstration of clear clinical improvement after food allergen elimination and the re-emergence of symptoms upon challenge. There is a significant clinical overlap between non-IgE-mediated food allergy and several common paediatric gastroenterological conditions, which may lead to diagnostic confusion. The treatment of gastrointestinal food allergies requires the strict elimination of offending food allergens until tolerance has developed. In breast-fed infants, a maternal elimination diet is often sufficient to control symptoms. In formula-fed infants, treatment usually involves the use an extensively hydrolysed or amino acid-based formula. Apart from the use of hypoallergenic formulae, the solid diets of these children also need to be kept free of specific food allergens, as clinically indicated. The nutritional progress of infants and young children should be carefully monitored, and they should undergo ongoing, regular food protein elimination reassessments by cautious food challenges to monitor for possible tolerance development.

PMID:
26022877
DOI:
10.1159/000371700
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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