Cumulative evidence suggests that food allergy (FA) is associated with a multitude of environmental factors including hygiene habits, antibiotic use, lifestyle changes and, in particular, diet. Changes in nutrition can result in dysbiosis of the skin, gut, and lung microbiota and generate changes in microbial the metabolites produced, which may in turn produce epigenetic modifications. Current evidence supports the view that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in immune regulation and may represent a key-missing piece of the etiological puzzle for FA, at the interface between the environment and the genome. Dietary fibre can change the gut microbiota composition and therefore cause epigenome changes promoting health. Pectin is one type of dietary fibre that can exert immune regulation and mouse studies have shown its capability to prevent and even cure respiratory allergies.
DIFAMEM aims to investigate the effects of FA treatment through intervention with a prebiotic dietary component, pectin, and using peach allergy as a model.
This project will advance our understanding on how the interaction between dietary components and gut microbiota composition leads to epigenetic changes that provoke the immune modulation, and establish new strategies for dietary intervention in FA, with potential applications for other immune-related diseases.During this year, we have got important advances regarding the identification of the optimal pectin type using an established peach allergy model. Moreover, we have been able to confirm that although pectins due to the fruit sources can contain LTP, the amounts are under the threshold to induce anaphylactic reactions in nsLTP-allergic patients. Additionally, the intervention study has been finalised and the different biological samples distributed to the partners in charged on the different omic analysis, microbiome, epigenomic, metabolomics and immunologic analysis. Moreover, the analysis of the clinical outcomes is now ongoing.