Background: Exposure to microbes may be important in the development of atopic disease. Atopic diseases have been associated with specific characteristics of the intestinal microbiome. The link between intestinal microbiota and food allergy has rarely been studied, and the gold standard for diagnosing food allergy (double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge [DBPCFC]) has seldom been used. We aimed to distinguish fecal microbial signatures for food allergy in children with atopic dermatitis (AD). Methods: Pediatric patients with AD, with and without food allergy, were included in this cross-sectional observational pilot study. AD was diagnosed according to the UK Working Party criteria. Food allergy was defined as a positive DBPCFC or a convincing clinical history, in combination with sensitization to the relevant food allergen. Fecal samples were analyzed using 16S rRNA microbial analysis. Microbial signature species, discriminating between the presence and absence food allergy, were selected by elastic net regression. Results: Eighty-two children with AD (39 girls) with a median age of 2.5 years, and 20 of whom were diagnosed with food allergy, provided fecal samples. Food allergy to peanut and cow's milk was the most common. Six bacterial species from the fecal microbiome were identified, that, when combined, distinguished between children with and without food allergy: Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Escherichia coli, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Akkermansia muciniphila (AUC 0.83, sensitivity 0.77, specificity 0.80). Conclusions: In this pilot study, we identified a microbial signature in children with AD that discriminates between the absence and presence of food allergy. Future studies are needed to confirm our findings.

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International Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Department of Pediatrics

Fieten, K., Totté, J., Levin, E. (Evgeni), Reyman, M. (Marta), Meijer, Y., Knulst, A., … Pasmans, S. (2018). Fecal microbiome and food allergy in pediatric atopic dermatitis: A cross-sectional pilot study. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 175(1-2), 77–84. doi:10.1159/000484897