Suppression of Food Allergy with Metformin
Metformin prevents the development of food allergy and suppresses established food allergy in mouse models.
Using mouse models of IgE-mediated food allergy, Cincinnati Children's researcher Fred Finkelman, MD, has shown that metformin (added to the water supply) prevents the development of food allergy (manifested as anaphylactic shock and diarrhea following food ingestion). Treatment with metformin also suppresses established food allergy.
He has shown that four foods associated with allergy (peanut, walnut, milk, and eggs) induce a physiological stress response, called the unfolded protein response (UPR), in epithelial cells. Food allergy in the mouse models is dependent on cytokine production, and the UPR induces this. Metformin is a well-established inhibitor of the UPR; therefore, he hypothesizes that it suppresses food allergy through this effect.
- Food allergy
- Other allergic conditions
- Safe, established drug
- Few adverse drug effects
Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ED, and it is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting. Peanut, tree nuts, milk, and eggs are 4 of the 8 major food allergens responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the U.S.
Fred Finkelman, MD, Division of Immunobiology