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Milk processing increases the allergenicity of cow’s milk – preclinical evidence supported by a human proof-of-concept provocation pilot

Abbring, S;Kusche, D;Roos, TC;Diks, MAP;Hols, G;Garssen, J;Baars, T;van Esch, BCAM;

Several studies demonstrated the adverse effect of milk processing on the allergy-protective capacity of raw cow’s milk. Whether milk processing also affects the allergenicity of raw milk is hardly investigated. To assess the allergenicity of raw (unprocessed) and processed cow’s milk in a murine model for food allergy as well as in cow’s milk allergic children. C3H/HeOuJ mice were either sensitized to whole milk (raw cow’s milk, heated raw cow’s milk or shop milk (store-bought milk)) and challenged with cow’s milk protein or they were sensitized and challenged to whey proteins (native or heated). Acute allergic symptoms, mast cell degranulation, allergen-specific IgE levels and cytokine concentrations were determined upon challenge. Cow’s milk allergic children were tested in an oral provocation pilot with organic raw and conventional shop milk. Mice sensitized to raw milk showed fewer acute allergic symptoms upon intradermal challenge than mice sensitized to processed milk. The acute allergic skin response was low (103 8.5 m vs. 195 17.7 m for heated raw milk, P < 0.0001 and vs. 149 13.6 m for shop milk, P = 0.0316), there were no anaphylactic shock symptoms and no anaphylactic shock-induced drop in body temperature. Moreover, allergen-specific IgE levels and Th2 cytokines were significantly lower in raw milk sensitized mice. Interestingly, the reduced sensitizing capacity was preserved in the isolated native whey protein fraction of raw milk. Besides, native whey protein challenge diminished allergic symptoms in mice sensitized to heated whey proteins. In an oral provocation pilot, cow’s milk allergic children tolerated raw milk up to 50 mL whereas they only tolerated 8.6 5.3 mL shop milk (P = 0.0078). This study demonstrates that raw (unprocessed) cow’s milk and native whey proteins have a lower allergenicity than their processed counterparts. The preclinical evidence in combination with the human proof-of-concept provocation pilot provides evidence that milk processing negatively influences the allergenicity of milk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.