About this Research Topic
The sudden emergence of the allergy epidemic has sharply coincided with lifestyle changes associated with modernity, suggesting a possible role for environmental factors including the gut microbiome in influencing the development of allergies. Food Allergy (FA) and Asthma affect around one third of the population in the developed countries.
These allergic diseases are two common childhood conditions that are familiar to many. Both FA and asthma have increased in prevalence in the past few decades. FA and asthma coexist in many children, and recent studies demonstrate that having these co-morbid conditions increases the risk for morbidity. Children with FA and asthma are more likely to have near-fatal or fatal allergic reactions to one or more foods and are more likely to have severe asthma.
Asthma prevalence has been increasing in the past few decades reaching around 20% of the general population in the Western countries. It is mainly related to “gene x environment” interactions. Asthma is manifested with an increase in eosinophils in the lung, infiltration of T helper (Th) 2 cells, secretion of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 to mediate goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus secretion in the airways leading to airway inflammation, and secretion of total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E antibodies that trigger the release of inflammatory mediators from mast cells. Recent studies have identified changes in (i) the microbiota, (ii) Th2 responses, and (iii) the environmental milieu of the mother during pregnancy as possible mechanisms for the development of asthma.
Furthermore, a healthy immune response to dietary antigens is a state of non-responsiveness termed “oral tolerance.” Failure to achieve oral tolerance has been implicated in the development of FA. FA is characterized by the development of a pathogenic Th2-response mediated towards innocuous food antigens. FA is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate which affects up to 8% of children and 3% of adults in affluent societies. Breakdowns in oral tolerance and disruption of epithelial barrier integrity are cardinal factors which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of FA. Additionally, recent studies have suggested a critical role played by the gut microbiome in suppressing FA by promoting oral tolerance and by enhancing epithelial barrier integrity.
Gut and lung microbiota have been implicated in different studies as an influence critical to the modifying of the immune system in the context of FA and asthma. Epigenetic modification is one example of modification of immune response.
In this Research Topic, we aim to provide an overview of recent progress in our understanding of asthma and FA. We welcome the submission of Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Original Research, and Clinical Trial articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:
1. Microbiome in regulating FA and asthma
2. Epigenetic modifications and their effects on asthma and FA development
3. The role of the microbiome in altering the T-cell epigenome in FA and asthma
Keywords: Asthma, Epigenetics, Microbiota, Food Allergy, T-cell
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