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Blind Analysis of Food-Related IgG Identifies Five Possible Nutritional Clusters for the Italian Population: Future Implications for Pregnancy and Lactation

Piuri, Gabriele, Ferrazzi, Enrico, Speciani, Attilio Francesco
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.5
algorithms, antibodies, antigens, breast milk, colostrum, dairy products, diet, fermented foods, food groups, foodways, gluten, immunoglobulin G, immunosuppression, lactation, lifestyle, nickel, oils, pregnancy, pregnant women
Background: The influence of diet in pregnant women on the immune tolerance process is intricate. Food-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) was associated with exposure to particular food antigens. The IgG antibodies can cross the placental barrier and enter into the colostrum, and maternal IgG is amply present in breast milk. This justifies studying the immunological connection between food-specific IgG antibodies and the mother–fetus relationship. This study was designed to analyze food-specific IgG concentrations and possible food-specific IgG concentration clusters in a large cohort of subjects with a common food culture. Methods: Food-specific IgG antibody concentrations were detected in 18,012 Caucasian or Southern European subjects over 18 years of age. We used an unsupervised hierarchical clustering algorithm to explore varying degrees of similarity among food-specific IgG antibodies. Results: We identified five food groups by the evaluation of food-specific IgG values: one includes foods with a high nickel content, the second cluster is associated with gluten, the third cluster includes dairy products, the fourth one is connected to fermented foods, and the last group is correlated with cooked oils. Discussion: The knowledge derived from studying a large sample allows us to determine food-specific IgG values from a single pregnant woman, compare it to an epidemic standard, and establish modifications required in her lifestyle to modulate her nutritional habits.