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 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 potential in preventing and even curing respiratory allergies.
DIFAM 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.