Methods In Molecular Biology
Food allergies are a growing public health problem with recent estimates of 10% of the US population affected by this immunologic disease. The quality of life is greatly impaired in food allergic individuals and their caregivers due to constant vigilance and fear of accidental exposure. Shellfish allergies are of particular concern because their prevalence has increased over the past 15 years, now affecting an estimated 3% of the adult population and 1.3% of children in the USA. Additionally, they are rarely outgrown, can result in fatal reactions, and there are no FDA-approved therapies for shellfish allergies. Reactions to one type of shellfish, crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, and crab), can be especially severe. The major crustacean allergens are highly conserved across species, resulting in high cross-reactivity of IgE between shrimp, lobster, and crab in allergic individuals. To develop novel therapies for shellfish allergies, preclinical mouse models are required. In this chapter, we present detailed methodology to induce shrimp allergy in CC027 mice. Once sensitized, mice produce shrimp-specific IgE, that is cross-reactive with lobster and crab, and experience anaphylaxis upon shrimp challenge. This model can be used to further investigate mechanisms of sensitization and preclinical testing of therapies.