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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01933

Influences of Maternal Factors Over Offspring Allergies and the Application for Food Allergy

  • 1Division of Allergy and Immunology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States
  • 2Hiroshima Research Center for Healthy Aging, Hiroshima University, Japan
  • 3Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, Japan
  • 4Departments of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, United States

The prevalence of food allergy has been steadily rising worldwide with the highest incidence noted among younger children, and increasingly recognized as a growing public concern. Allergic reactions to foods often occur on the first known ingestion, suggesting that exposure of offspring to food allergens may occur in utero and/or through breast milk. This creates a milieu that shapes the neonatal immune response to these allergens. However, the effects of maternal allergen exposure and maternal sensitization with allergens on development of allergies in offspring remain controversial. This review discusses recent advances from human data in our understanding of how maternal factors, namely, food allergens, allergen-specific immunoglobulins, cytokines, genetics, and environmental factors transferred during pregnancy or breastfeeding influence offspring allergies and how such effects may be applicable to food allergy. Based on information obtained from mouse models of asthma and food allergy, the review also dissects the mechanisms by which maternal factors, including the impact of immune complexes, transforming growth factor-β, vitamin A, and regulatory T-cell responses, contribute to the induction of neonatal tolerance versus development of allergic responses to maternally transferred allergens.

Keywords: Asthma, allergen, breast milk, food allergy, immune complexes, Immunoglobulins, In utero, environmental factors

Received: 18 Apr 2019; Accepted: 30 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Shohei Hori, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Reviewed by:

Yosuke Kurashima, Chiba University, Japan
Jun Kunisawa, National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, Japan  

Copyright: © 2019 Fujimura, Lum, Nagata, Kawamoto and OYOSHI. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Michiko K. OYOSHI, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States, michiko.oyoshi@childrens.harvard.edu