March 2, 2014

Contact:

Megan Brown
mbrown@aaaai.org
(414) 272-6071
 

Prior Food Allergic Individuals Could Be at Risk of Developing Eosinophilic Esophagitis to the Same Food


SAN DIEGO, CA – According to a study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), people who have outgrown a food allergy might be at risk of developing another condition—called eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)—to the same food.

“EoE is characterized by the presence of large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils in the tissue of the esophagus, which causes inflammation or swelling of the esophagus,” explained Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, one of the study authors. “Foods like dairy products, egg, soy and wheat are main causes of EoE.”

In their research, Dr. Spergel and colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia set out to examine the frequency of food allergy in patients with EoE.

The sample studied was comprised of 1,025 children with EoE who were patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia between 2000 and 2012. In 425 of those children, a specific food had been identified as the culprit. A food was considered to cause EoE if removing it from the diet stopped symptoms or reintroducing it into the diet caused symptoms to reoccur.

Among the 425 children with EoE who had a culprit food identified, the most common EoE
triggers were milk, egg, wheat and soy. However, what was most interesting to researchers was that a group of 17 patients had developed EoE to a food after they outgrew an allergy to that same food.

Milk, egg, wheat and soy were still the most common EoE triggers in this subgroup and 94% of the patients had atopic disease. The investigators noted that two subjects even had normal biopsies of the esophagus at the time when they had a food allergy. Then after they outgrew that food allergy, they developed EoE to the same food coinciding with the reintroduction of that food into their diet.

“What we’re really seeing is that the paths of development for EoE and food allergy are distinct from each other, and we still need to learn more,” said Dr. Spergel. “The most interesting finding though is that we’re now seeing that people who outgrow a food allergy to a specific food may be at risk of developing EoE to the same food.”

More information on EoE and food allergy is available from the AAAAI website.
The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health
professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,800 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries.


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Editor's notes:
· This study was presented during the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of
Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) on February 28-March 4 in San Diego.
However, they do not necessarily reflect the policies or the opinions of the AAAAI.
· A link to all abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting is available at
annualmeeting.aaaai.org (Note to media: request/see abstract 990)

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology