Project

Proteomics: milk allergy

Effect of intensely heated milk proteins on the development of immune tolerance to milk allergens.

Introduction

Food allergy is an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response. It occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food. The prevalence of food allergy is more than 1-2% but less than 10% of the population. Cow’s milk is one of the leading causes of food allergy especially in infants.

It was reported that intensely heated (baked) milk products contribute to the development of immune tolerance to cow’s milk allergens. Also the process of outgrowing CMA can be accelerated by adding intensely heated milk into patients’ diets.

Heat treatment may change the chemical and physical properties of milk allergens. This will not only influence the allergenicity of these allergens and the resistance of allergens to gastrointestinal digestion, but also change the ways by which allergens pass through the mucosal barrier. Subsequently, immune response will be changed by different kinds of lymphocytes and cytokines.

Aim

The objectives of this project are:

  • To analyse the impact of intense heat treatment on the chemical and physical properties of milk proteins
  • To test transport efficiency of intensely heated antigens in the intestine
  • To investigate the immunological factors that are responsible for the development of tolerance to cow’s milk allergens

Research

To investigate the effect of intensely heated milk proteins on the development of immune tolerance to cow’s milk allergens, the following questions will be addressed:

  • How does the heating process affect physical and chemical properties of milk allergens and subsequently influence allergenicity of milk allergens?
  • How do allergens pass through the mucosal barrier and then get into contact with the local and systemic immune systems?
  • What effects do intensively heated milk proteins have on basophils, dendritic cells, and T-cells that may contribute to the development of immune tolerance?

Methods

To answer the research questions, the following methods are planned to be used:
  • A food model mainly consists of milk proteins and wheat carbohydrates will be built. This model will be used to simulate bakery process of some commercial products. Chemical, physical & immunological properties of the allergens in the model will be tested.
  • The allergens will be applied to in vitro gastrointestinal digestion. Transcytosis efficiency of allergens will then be analysed using Caco-2 cells. In addition, The role of DCs in antigens presentation of heated milk proteins will be studied.
  • Finally, impact of allergens on PBMC induced proliferation and cytokine production capacity will be measured.