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Gender aspects in food allergy

Pali-Schöll, Isabellaa,b; Jensen-Jarolim, Erikaa,b

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2019 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 249–255
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000529
FOOD ALLERGY: Edited by Alessandro Fiocchi and Motohiro Ebisawa

Purpose of review The difference of food allergy prevalence between male and female individuals is well documented and should have more impact for personalized diagnosis and management. Although in younger age male sex dominates, in adults more women are affected by food allergies. This sex disparity diminishes again around menopause, underlining the influence of sex hormones, but in addition, also metabolic gender-specific factors and differences in microbiome composition might contribute to the different expression of food allergy in the two genders. The sex-dependent and gender-dependent influence on development of food allergy, disease severity, as well as on social, dietary and neuropsychological factors in studies mainly published within past 18 months are discussed in this review.

Recent findings Sex and gender differences likely play a role in food allergy development, for instance via influence on immune cells and mediators, or on the composition of the microbiome, but only few controlled studies on this specific topic are available.

Summary Future prospective studies need to clearly take into account the sex and gender difference in order to provide personalized diagnosis, management and treatment of food allergy.

aComparative Medicine, Interuniversity Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Medical University Vienna and University Vienna

bInstitute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center of Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence to Isabella Pali-Schöll, Comparative Medicine, Interuniversity Messerli Research Institute associated to Institute of Pathophysiology, Center of Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University Vienna, Währinger G. 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria. E-mail:

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