Risk Factors

What are risk factors for the development of food allergy?

Food allergies are becoming more prevalent. Rates of peanut allergy have tripled in recent history and 1 out of every 50 individuals in the US suffers from peanut allergy. One of the biggest questions in food allergy research is: What is responsible for the rapid rise in food allergy? Identification of perinatal factors that could influence the development of allergic disease would allow for the development of prevention strategies to lower the burden of allergic disease in the US.

One project currently under development is studying the role of commensal microbiota in the development of tolerance and allergy to foods. We know that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract suppress the production of IgE antibodies, but we do not know if there are specific organisms that promote the development of allergic disease. In collaboration with our colleagues at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, who are studying the microbiome in food allergic patients, we will use mouse models to determine how different microbial constituents control tolerance and allergy in the gastrointestinal tract.

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M. Cecilia Berin, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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