Targeting the FcεRI Pathway as a Potential Strategy to Prevent Food-Induced Anaphylaxis

Melanie C. Dispenza*, Bruce S. Bochner, Donald W. MacGlashan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Despite attempts to halt it, the prevalence of food allergy is increasing, and there is an unmet need for strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality from food-induced allergic reactions. There are no known medications that can prevent anaphylaxis, but several novel therapies show promise for the prevention of food-induced anaphylaxis through targeting of the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcϵRI) pathway. This pathway includes multiple candidate targets, including tyrosine kinases and the receptor itself. Small molecule inhibitors of essential kinases have rapid onset of action and transient efficacy, which may be beneficial for short-term use for immunotherapy buildup or desensitizations. Short courses of FDA-approved inhibitors of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase can eliminate IgE-mediated basophil activation and reduce food skin test size in allergic adults, and prevent IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in humanized mice. In contrast, biologics may provide longer-lasting protection, albeit with slower onset. Omalizumab is an anti-IgE antibody that sequesters IgE, thereby reducing FcϵRI expression on mast cells and basophils. As a monotherapy, it can increase the clinical threshold dose of food allergen, and when used as an adjunct for food immunotherapy, it decreases severe reactions during buildup phase. Finally, lirentelimab, an anti-Siglec-8 antibody currently in clinical trials, can prevent IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in mice through mast cell inhibition. This review discusses these and other emerging therapies as potential strategies for preventing food-induced anaphylaxis. In contrast to other food allergy treatments which largely focus on individual allergens, blockade of the FcϵRI pathway has the advantage of preventing clinical reactivity from any food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number614402
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Dec 17 2020


  • Bruton’s tyrosine kinase
  • FcϵRI signaling
  • IgE
  • Siglec
  • anaphylaxis
  • food allergy
  • omalizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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