Antigen-Presenting Cells in Food Tolerance and Allergy

Elise G. Liu, Xiangyun Yin, Anush Swaminathan, Stephanie C. Eisenbarth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Food allergy now affects 6%–8% of children in the Western world; despite this, we understand little about why certain people become sensitized to food allergens. The dominant form of food allergy is mediated by food-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. A central step in this immune response to food antigens that differentiates tolerance from allergy is the initial priming of T cells by antigen-presenting cells (APCs), primarily different types of dendritic cells (DCs). DCs, along with monocyte and macrophage populations, dictate oral tolerance versus allergy by shaping the T cell and subsequent B cell antibody response. A growing body of literature has shed light on the conditions under which antigen presentation occurs and how different types of T cell responses are induced by different APCs. We will review APC subsets in the gut and discuss mechanisms of APC-induced oral tolerance versus allergy to food identified using mouse models and patient samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number616020
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Jan 8 2021


  • Peyer’s patches
  • dendritic cells
  • food allergy
  • gut
  • macrophages
  • mesenteric lymph node
  • monocytes
  • oral tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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