Food allergies are a growing health problem, and the development of therapies that prevent disease onset is limited by the lack of adjuvant-free experimental animal models. We compared allergic sensitization in patients with food allergy or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) and defined whether spontaneous disease in Was-/- mice recapitulates the pathology of a conventional disease model and/or human food allergy. Comparative ImmunoCAP ISAC microarray was performed in patients with food allergy or WAS. Spontaneous food allergy in Was-/- mice was compared to an adjuvant-based model in wild-type mice (WT-OVA/alum). Intestinal and systemic anaphylaxis was assessed, and the role of the high-affinity IgE Fc receptor (FcεRI) in allergic sensitization was evaluated using Was-/- Fcer1a-/- mice. Polysensitization to food was detected in both WAS and food-allergic patients which was recapitulated in the Was-/- model. Oral administration of ovalbumin (OVA) in Was-/- mice induced low titers of OVA-specific IgE compared to the WT-OVA/alum model. Irrespectively, 79% of Was-/- mice developed allergic diarrhea following oral OVA challenge. Systemic anaphylaxis occurred in Was-/- mice (95%) with a mortality rate >50%. Spontaneous sensitization and intestinal allergy occurred independent of FcεRI expression on mast cells (MCs) and basophils. Was-/- mice provide a model of food allergy with the advantage of mimicking polysensitization and low food-antigen IgE titers as observed in humans with clinical food allergy. This model will facilitate studies on aberrant immune responses during spontaneous disease development. Our results imply that therapeutic targeting of the IgE/FcεRI activation cascade will not affect sensitization to food.
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