Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2017 Mar;9(2):107-115. 10.4168/aair.2017.9.2.107.

Role of Regulatory Cells in Oral Tolerance

  • 1Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), University of Zurich, Davos, Switzerland.


The immune system is continuously exposed to great amounts of different antigens from both food and intestinal microbes. Immune tolerance to these antigens is very important for intestinal and systemic immune homeostasis. Oral tolerance is a specific type of peripheral tolerance induced by exposure to antigen via the oral route. Investigations on the role of intestinal immune system in preventing hypersensitivity reactions to innocuous dietary and microbial antigens have been intensively performed during the last 2 decades. In this review article, we discuss how food allergens are recognized by the intestinal immune system and draw attention to the role of regulatory T (Treg) and B (Breg) cells in the establishment of oral tolerance and tolerogenic features of intestinal dendritic cells. We also emphasize the potential role of tonsils in oral tolerance induction because of their anatomical location, cellular composition, and possible usage to develop novel ways of specific immunotherapy for the treatment of allergic diseases.


Food allergy; oral tolerance; regulatory cells; dendritic cells; Tregs
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