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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 721085, 9 pages
Research Article

Oral Tolerance Induced by Transfer of Food Antigens via Breast Milk of Allergic Mothers Prevents Offspring from Developing Allergic Symptoms in a Mouse Food Allergy Model

Division of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan

Received 16 May 2011; Revised 22 September 2011; Accepted 16 December 2011

Academic Editor: Valerie Verhasselt

Copyright © 2012 Takeshi Yamamoto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We examined whether maternal exposure to food antigens during lactation and maternal allergic status would affect the development of food allergy in offspring. OVA-sensitized or OVA-nonsensitized BALB/c female mice were exposed or unexposed to OVA during lactation. After weaning, their offspring were systemically sensitized twice with OVA and repeatedly given OVA by oral intubation. While 97.1% of the mice breastfed by OVA-nonsensitized and OVA-unexposed mothers developed allergic diarrhea, 59.7% of the mice breastfed by OVA-exposed nonallergic mothers during lactation and 24.6% of the mice breastfed by OVA-exposed allergic mothers during lactation developed food allergy. Furthermore, OVA was detected in breast-milk from OVA-exposed nonallergic mothers during lactation (4.6±0.5 μg/mL). In addition, OVA-specific IgG1 titers were markedly increased in breast milk from allergic mothers (OVA-sensitized and OVA-unexposed mother: 11.0±0.5, OVA-sensitized and OVA-exposed mother: 12.3±0.3). Our results suggest that oral tolerance induced by breast milk-mediated transfer of dietary antigens along with their specific immunoglobulins to offspring leads to antigen-specific protection from food allergy.