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Food allergy development linked to skin exposure

JCI Journals

Food allergies are on the rise in the U.S. and other developed countries. In patients, food allergies appear as a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild skin inflammation to severe asthma. Recent studies suggest that contact between inflamed skin and food proteins may trigger food allergy development. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation provides a link between skin sensitization, gastrointestinal inflammation, and food allergy. Using a mouse model, Steven Ziegler and colleagues at the Benaroya Research Institute found that skin exposure to a combination of food antigen (peanut or egg proteins) and the pro-inflammatory molecule thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) results in food allergy. Dermal application of TSLP and antigen resulted in a severe allergic reaction, including diarrhea and anaphylaxis, when mice ingested the antigen. Skin sensitization to antigen required TSLP. However, development of allergic responses in the gut required IL-25, a protein that regulates the intestinal immune response. Interestingly, mice given antigen orally prior to skin sensitization did not develop an allergic response. The results from this study provide a mouse model for skin-induced food allergy development that could be used to test potential therapeutic interventions.


This research was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.


Thymic stromal lymphopoietin-mediated epicutaneous inflammation promotes acute diarrhea and anaphylaxis


Steven Ziegler
Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA
Phone: (206) 287-5657; Fax: (206) 342-6572; E-mail:

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