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The roles of basophils, TSLP and IL-33 in food allergy following epicutaneous sensitisation

Cutaneous sensitization with a food antigen before its consumption elicits the development of food allergy. Here we report the site and stage dependent roles of basophils and pro-allergic cytokines, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and IL-33, in a mouse model of food allergy initially sensitized cutaneously with the food antigen. Mice are epicutaneously sensitized with the food antigen ovalbumin (OVA) followed by oral challenge with OVA. Epicutaneously-sensitized mice produce OVA-specific IgE and develop IgE-dependent anaphylaxis after oral challenge. If OVA is given orally before epicutaneous administration, development of food allergy is prevented with Foxp3 mRNA up-regulation. Thus, our mouse model clearly reflects the “dual-allergen-exposure hypothesis” in which allergic sensitization results from cutaneous food antigen exposure before its consumption. When allergy is induced by epicutaneous sensitization then oral challenge, basophil-depleted or TSLP-receptor-deficient mice do not produce OVA-specific IgE and are protected from oral challenge-induced anaphylaxis. IL-33-deficient mice produce normal levels of OVA-specific IgE, however, IL-33-deficient mice and mice treated with recombinant soluble IL-33 receptor are protected from anaphylaxis. Thus, basophils and TSLP have pivotal roles in Th2 development in the skin during the sensitization phase of food allergy. In contrast, while IL-33 is dispensable for promoting cutaneous antigen sensitization, the cytokine is essential for inducing IgE-dependent anaphylaxis in the gut.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Yoshimoto, T., Muto, T., Fukuoka, A. et al. The roles of basophils, TSLP and IL-33 in food allergy following epicutaneous sensitisation. Clin Transl Allergy 5 (Suppl 3), O17 (2015).

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