Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Borough of Manhattan, New York, United States

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Publications (44)267.69 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cow's milk (CM) and hen's egg allergies are among the most common food allergies in children. With evidence of increasing food allergy prevalence and more persistent disease, it has become vital to improve the management of CM and egg allergies. The ability to tolerate baked milk or egg, such as in a cake or muffin, has been associated with an increased chance of tolerance development. Studies report that about 70% of CM- and egg-allergic children can tolerate baked milk or egg and that incorporating baked milk or egg into the diet is well tolerated. Being able to add baked milk or egg into the diet can also increase quality of life by expanding the diet, boosting nutrition, and promoting inclusion in social activities. There is some debate over how baked milk and egg should be introduced, at home or in a supervised setting. Anaphylaxis and treatment with epinephrine during baked milk or egg challenges have been reported. Study of potential biomarkers to predict tolerability of baked milk and egg, such as serum specific IgE levels and skin prick test wheal diameters, is ongoing. Many parents can reliably report that their CM- or egg-allergic child is already consuming baked goods without symptoms. However, for those who cannot report such tolerance, the most prudent approach is to perform a supervised oral food challenge to determine the tolerability of baked milk and egg. The purpose of this article was to review the pathophysiology, clinical data, and safety of baked milk and egg and provide a practical guide to managing CM allergy and/or egg allergy. Recipes for baked milk and egg challenges and guidance on how to add baked milk and egg if tolerated to the child's regular diet are provided. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Stephanie Albin, Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents an overview of potential treatments of food allergy, with an emphasis on various forms of immunotherapy (including oral immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy, epicutaneous immunotherapy, immunotherapy with modified food antigens, and immunotherapy with a recombinant peanut vaccine). Allergen nonspecific treatments, such as Chinese herbal formulas, probiotics/prebiotics, helminths, monoclonal antibodies, and toll-like receptor agonists, are also summarized. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America 11/2014; 35(1). DOI:10.1016/j.iac.2014.09.011 · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defined a formula as hypoallergenic if it ensures with 95% confidence that 90% of infants with confirmed cow's milk allergy (CMA) will not react with defined symptoms under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions. This study's objective was to determine whether a new amino acid-based formula (AAF) meets the AAP hypoallergenicity criteria. Methods. Children with CMA were randomized to double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges (DBPCFC) with a new AAF and a commercial AAF in crossover fashion followed by an at-home open challenge with the new AAF. Allergic reactions were assessed using a scoring system. Results. Thirty-three subjects completed DBPCFCs with both formulas without acute allergic reactions. The lower bound 95% confidence interval for hypoallergenicity was 91.3%. No unusual stool patterns, allergic symptoms, or signs of intolerance were reported during the open challenge.
    Clinical Pediatrics 11/2014; 54(3). DOI:10.1177/0009922814557785 · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a non-IgE-mediated food allergy. FPIES diagnosis is frequently delayed because of the absence of classic allergic symptoms and lack of biomarkers. Objective: We sought to characterize the clinical features and resolution of FPIES in patients evaluated in our practice. Methods: Subjects 6 months to 45 years of age with FPIES were prospectively recruited for oral food challenges (OFCs). Medical records were searched to identify the subjects who did not participate in OFCs. Results: Among 160 subjects, 54% were male; median age at diagnosis was 15 months. We performed 180 OFCs to 15 foods in 82 subjects; 30% of the study population had FPIES confirmed based on OFC results. The most common foods were cow's milk (44%), soy (41%), rice (22.5%), and oat (16%). The majority (65%) reacted to 1 food, 26% reacted to 2 foods, and 9% reacted to 3 or more foods. The majority were atopic, and 39% had IgE sensitization to another food. Thirty-nine (24%) subjects had positive specific IgE levels to the food inducing FPIES. Among children with specific IgE to cow's milk, 41% changed from a milk FPIES to an IgE-mediated phenotype over time. The median age when tolerance was established was 4.7 years for rice, 4 years for oat, and 6.7 years for soy. Median age when milk tolerance was established for subjects with undetectable milk-specific IgE levels was 5.1 years, whereas none of the subjects with detectable milk-specific IgE became tolerant to milk during the study (P = .003). Conclusion: FPIES typically resolves by age 5 years. Milk FPIES, especially with detectable food-specific IgE, can have a protracted course and eventually transition to acute reactions.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 05/2014; 134(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.04.008 · 11.25 Impact Factor
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    Elizabeth Feuille, Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn
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    ABSTRACT: Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a poorly understood non-IgE-mediated food hypersensitivity, primarily affecting infants and toddlers. There are few data regarding pathophysiology of FPIES that suggest local intestinal imbalance between TNF-α and TGF-β. Patients frequently present with multiple reactions, which are characterized by projectile, repetitive emesis, dehydration, lethargy, and failure to thrive. Despite the severity of presentation, the diagnosis is frequently delayed, and patients often undergo extensive and invasive evaluation prior to reaching the diagnosis. Reviews published in the last year provide a general approach to diagnosis and management of FPIES and aim to increase awareness and understanding of FPIES among general pediatricians. Multicenter studies are necessary to reevaluate and modify the oral food challenge criteria. Research on the pathophysiology of FPIES reactions is necessary to provide insight into the evidence-based approach to diagnosis and management of FPIES. Registries are needed to understand the phenotype, triggers, and prevalence of FPIES.
    Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology 03/2014; DOI:10.1097/ACI.0000000000000055 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy) is a therapeutic method aiming at producing allergen-specific tolerance of the immune system to a gradually increasing dose of an allergen that is administered sublingually. SLIT initiates similar immune mechanisms as does subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT). The aim of the study at this position is to update the current knowledge on sublingual immunotherapy. Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled (RDBPC) studies that compared both immunotherapy forms point to an advantage of SCIT over SLIT in decreasing symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis, a comparable effect of both the methods on immune parameters (sIgE, IL-10) and upper respiratory tract inflammations and an advantage of SCIT over SLIT with respect to lower respiratory tract inflammations as based on provocation tests. At present, there are no grounds for recommending SLIT in food allergy. In view of the high safety profile and absence of anxiety-provoking infections, SLIT may be the method that is more often selected in children as compared to adults. On the other hand, immune mechanisms and results of clinical trials provide an argument for preferential employment of SCIT in adults. It should be borne in mind, however, that SLIT is effective if a good quality vaccine with a high allergen dose, is employed for at least three years. National and international reports indicate the necessity of conducting further clinical trials, especially including a direct comparison between SCIT and SLIT with respect to effectiveness and safety.
    01/2014; 1(1):30–37. DOI:10.1016/j.alergo.2014.03.002
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    ABSTRACT: Decreased serum food-specific IgA antibodies have been associated with allergic disease in cross-sectional, case-control studies. The purpose of this study was to prospectively compare egg-white-(EW)-specific IgA and IgA2 levels between egg-allergic children and children tolerating egg. Seventeen egg-allergic children were followed prospectively. Total IgA, EW-specific IgA, and EW-specific IgA2 levels were measured in their sera with a sensitive ELISA. As negative controls were used children with no previous history of egg allergy. Egg-allergic children with or without concomitant milk allergy were evaluated as additional controls with measurement of casein-specific IgA. After 2.5 ± 0.9 yrs, nine out of the 17 allergic children became tolerant and eight remained allergic to baked egg. Baseline EW-specific IgA2 levels were significantly lower in the egg-allergic subjects (median 23.9 ng/ml) compared with the negative control subjects (99.4 ng/ml) and increased significantly by 28% over the study time period in eight out of the nine allergic children that became tolerant to baked egg. There was no significant change over time in EW-specific IgA in any of the study groups. Non-milk-allergic subjects with concomitant egg allergy had almost threefold higher casein-specific IgA levels than the milk- and egg-allergic subjects (p = 0.025). These results suggest a potential role for allergen-specific IgA2 antibodies in the induction of food tolerance. Furthermore, they support the hypothesis that immature or impaired production of allergen-specific IgA2 may be associated with the pathophysiology of food allergy, a defect that seems to be selective for the culprit allergen.
    Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 10/2013; DOI:10.1111/pai.12143 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Children with food allergy have been shown to have increased small intestinal permeability (IP) following ingestion of the offending food as well as during elimination diets. We investigated IP in asymptomatic food allergic children during an elimination diet to identify clinical characteristics associated with altered IP. Urinary recovery ratios of lactulose and mannitol (L/M) were determined 5 h following ingestion of 7.5 g of lactulose and 2 g of mannitol in 131 cow's milk and egg allergic children. An L/M ratio of ≥0.025 was considered abnormal based upon previously established laboratory internal references. A chart review was conducted to assess the clinical characteristics of these patients. A total of 50 (38%) of the 131 children (median 6.7, range 4.8-8.9 yr; 66.2% male) with food allergy had elevated IP while asymptomatic on strict elimination diets. Age and height negatively correlated with IP. However, in the regression model analysis, abnormal IP was associated with shorter stature independently of age. Otherwise, food allergic patients with increased IP were comparable in gender, nutritional status, age of onset of food allergy, history of reactions, atopic diseases, and family history of food allergies to those with normal IP. Elevated IP was found in about one-third of asymptomatic food allergic children on elimination diets and was associated with shorter stature. Our results suggest that increased IP may be an intrinsic trait in a subset of food allergic children. However, large, prospective studies are necessary to determine the role of impaired intestinal barrier in food allergy.
    Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 08/2013; 24(6). DOI:10.1111/pai.12106 · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Kirsi M. Järvinen, Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn
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    ABSTRACT: Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a non–IgE-mediated gastrointestinal food hypersensitivity that manifests as profuse, repetitive vomiting, often with diarrhea, leading to acute dehydration and lethargy or weight loss and failure to thrive if chronic. FPIES is elicited most commonly by milk and soy proteins; however, rice, oat, and other solid foods may also elicit FPIES. Certain FPIES features overlap with food protein-induced enteropathy and proctocolitis, whereas others overlap with anaphylaxis. FPIES is not well recognized among pediatricians and emergency department physicians; the affected children are often mismanaged as having acute viral gastrointestinal illness, sepsis, or surgical disease, delaying diagnosis of FPIES for many months. The aim of this review is to provide case-driven presentation of the features of FPIES. Although randomized clinical trials on management options are missing, the relevant current literature and authors' experience are reviewed in detail.
    07/2013; 1(4):317–322.e4. DOI:10.1016/j.jaip.2013.04.004
  • 07/2013; 1(4):418-421.e2. DOI:10.1016/j.jaip.2013.04.012
  • Stephanie A Leonard, Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To provide an overview of clinical manifestations, diagnosis and pathophysiology of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), an under-recognized and often misdiagnosed nonimmunoglobulin E-mediated food hypersensitivity. This review will highlight updates on natural history and clinical management. RECENT FINDINGS: The main developments in FPIES involve epidemiology, common presentation and variants thereof, and natural history. Improved understanding and recognition of FPIES have influenced changes in clinical management. SUMMARY: A large prospective population-based study reported cow's milk-FPIES cumulative incidence to be 0.34% by 1 year of age; immunoglobulin E-mediated cow's milk allergy was 0.5%. A case report has suggested that FPIES pathophysiology involves Th2 activation, and a shift away from Th2 signalling may be associated with resolution. Appreciation of the frequent incidence of multiple food-FPIES has influenced anticipatory guidance. Two case reports have described FPIES to food proteins in maternal breast milk. The threshold dose for FPIES reactivity may decrease with successive episodes. Reports from different populations indicate that children may outgrow FPIES sooner than previously thought.
    Current opinion in pediatrics 10/2012; DOI:10.1097/MOP.0b013e3283599ca1 · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 09/2012; 109(3):221-2. DOI:10.1016/j.anai.2012.06.020 · 2.75 Impact Factor
  • The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 08/2012; 131(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.049 · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Baked egg is tolerated by a majority of egg-allergic children. To characterize immunologic changes associated with ingestion of baked egg and evaluate the role that baked egg diets play in the development of tolerance to regular egg. Egg-allergic subjects who tolerated baked egg challenge incorporated baked egg into their diet. Immunologic parameters were measured at follow-up visits. A comparison group strictly avoiding egg was used to evaluate the natural history of the development of tolerance. Of the 79 subjects in the intent-to-treat group followed for a median of 37.8 months, 89% now tolerate baked egg and 53% now tolerate regular egg. Of 23 initially baked egg-reactive subjects, 14 (61%) subsequently tolerated baked egg and 6 (26%) now tolerate regular egg. Within the initially baked egg-reactive group, subjects with persistent reactivity to baked egg had higher median baseline egg white (EW)-specific IgE levels (13.5 kU(A)/L) than those who subsequently tolerated baked egg (4.4 kU(A)/L; P= .04) and regular egg (3.1 kU(A)/L; P= .05). In subjects ingesting baked egg, EW-induced skin prick test wheal diameter and EW-, ovalbumin-, and ovomucoid-specific IgE levels decreased significantly, while ovalbumin- and ovomucoid-specific IgG(4) levels increased significantly. Subjects in the per-protocol group were 14.6 times more likely than subjects in the comparison group (P< .0001) to develop regular egg tolerance, and they developed tolerance earlier (median 50.0 vs 78.7 months; P< .0001). Initiation of a baked egg diet accelerates the development of regular egg tolerance compared with strict avoidance. Higher serum EW-specific IgE level is associated with persistent baked and regular egg reactivity, while initial baked egg reactivity is not.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 08/2012; 130(2):473-80.e1. DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.006 · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In our previous study about 75% of children with cow's milk allergy tolerated baked milk products, which improved their prognosis and quality of life. OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify biomarkers of varying degrees of clinical tolerance among a cohort of children with cow's milk allergy. METHODS: One hundred thirty-two subjects were initially classified as baked milk-reactive, baked milk-tolerant, or having "outgrown milk allergy" based on the results of oral food challenges. The baked milk-tolerant group was then divided into 3 groups based on the amount and degree of heat-denatured milk protein that they could tolerate. Serum was analyzed for allergen-specific IgE and IgG(4) levels, basophil reactivity was assessed in whole blood stimulated with serial 10-fold dilutions of milk protein, and skin prick tests (SPTs) were performed to commercial milk extract. Activated basophils were defined by using flow cytometry as CD63(bright)CD203c(+)CD123(+)HLA-DR(dim/-)CD41a(-)lineage(-). Data were analyzed by using the Jonckheere-Terpstra test. RESULTS: Significant differences across the 5 clinical groups were seen for median casein- and milk-specific IgE levels, casein-specific IgG(4) levels, and casein IgE/IgG(4) ratios; milk-specific to nonspecific basophil activation ratio, median basophil reactivity, and spontaneous basophil activation (CD203c expression after stimulation with RPMI); and milk SPT wheal diameters. Casein- and milk-specific IgE level, milk-specific basophil reactivity, and milk SPT wheal diameter are all significantly greater among patients with milk allergy who react to baked milk than among those who tolerate it. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients with milk allergy are able to tolerate some forms of baked milk in their diets. Different phenotypes of children with cow's milk allergy can be distinguished by casein- and milk-specific IgE levels, milk-specific basophil reactivity, and milk SPT mean wheal diameters. Spontaneous basophil activation is greater among patients with more severe clinical milk reactivity.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 07/2012; 131(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.003 · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A licensed inactivated MF59-adjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccine (Optaflu) produced in canine kidney cells (MDCK 33016-PF) contained no egg proteins and did not trigger degranulation in rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells passively sensitized with human anti-dog IgE, supporting its safe use in dog-allergic individuals. The cell-derived pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine was also adjuvanted with the emulsion adjuvant MF59, and support for its similar safe use was sought. We sought to evaluate in vitro allergenicity of the MF59-adjuvanted cell-derived pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine in subjects with dog allergy, with a mediator release assay. RBL-2H3 cells transfected with human Fcε receptor type 1 were sensitized with sera from adult dog-allergic subjects and stimulated with serial dilutions of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine and dog dander extract. β-N-hexosaminidase release (NHR) was used as a marker of RBL degranulation.. Median dog dander-specific IgE in 30 dog-allergic subjects was 27.7 kUA/L (range 10.1; > 100); and in 5 dog non-allergic subjects was < 0.35 kUA/L (UniCAP system). Median (range) maximum NHR in dog-allergic subjects was: pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine 1.1% (0; 4.4) and dog dander 6.9% (0.7; 37.3), P < 0.001. In conclusion, MF59-adjuvanted pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine produced in continuous canine kidney cells did not trigger degranulation in RBL cells passively sensitized with human anti-dog IgE, supporting its safe use in dog-allergic individuals.
    07/2012; 8(7):863-5. DOI:10.4161/hv.20324
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    ABSTRACT: Children have increased prevalence of food allergy (FA) and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease (EGID) following liver transplantation. The aim of this study was to identify related risk factors. Chart review of pediatric liver transplant (LT) recipients with de novo FA and/or EGID post-LT and non-allergic controls. We identified 30 (8.5%) children with FA and/or EGID among 352 pediatric LT recipients. Median age at transplant was 0.9 inter-quartile range (IQR 0.6-2.0) years. FA developed at a median 1.0 (IQR 0.5-8.2) yr post-LT and manifested with gastrointestinal symptoms (53%) or urticaria/angioedema (40%). Commonly avoided foods included milk (60%), egg (57%), and peanut (47%). Of the 15 children with FA who underwent endoscopy, 11 had eosinophilic infiltrates in multiple segments of the esophagus alone or in combination with other bowel segments. FA and EGID were linked to transplantation at a younger age (median, 0.9 vs. 5.5 yr), higher frequency of blood eosinophilia, and prior history of rhinitis and atopic dermatitis. Tacrolimus use and tacrolimus serum levels were similar between allergic subjects and controls. Findings suggest that exposure to tacrolimus alone post-LT is insufficient to initiate de novo allergic disease in LT recipients; rather, younger age and underlying predisposition to atopic disease may play larger roles.
    Clinical Transplantation 06/2012; 26(4):E365-71. DOI:10.1111/j.1399-0012.2012.01670.x · 1.49 Impact Factor
  • The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 06/2012; 129(6):1682-4.e2. DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.04.007 · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a promising treatment for food allergy. Studies are needed to elucidate mechanisms of clinical protection and to identify safer and potentially more efficacious methods for desensitizing patients to food allergens. We established a mouse model of OIT to determine how the dose or form of antigen may affect desensitization and to identify mechanisms of desensitization. Increasing doses of egg white or ovomucoid as OIT were administered orally to sensitized mice. The impact of OIT on anaphylaxis elicited by oral allergen challenge was determined. Allergen-specific antibody and cytokine responses and mast cell and basophil activation in response to OIT were measured. Gene expression in the small intestine was studied by microarray and real-time PCR. OIT resulted in desensitization but not tolerance of mice to the allergen. OIT did not result in desensitization of systemic effector cells, and protection was localized to the gastrointestinal tract. OIT was associated with significant changes in gene expression in the jejunum, including genes expressed by intestinal epithelial cells. Extensively heated ovomucoid that does not trigger anaphylaxis when given orally to sensitized mice was as efficacious as native ovomucoid in desensitizing mice. OIT results in clinical protection against food-induced anaphylaxis through a novel mechanism that is localized to the intestinal mucosa and is associated with significant changes in small intestinal gene expression. Extensively heating egg allergen decreases allergenicity and increases safety while still retaining the ability to induce effective desensitization.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 05/2012; 129(6):1579-1587.e1. DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.04.009 · 12.05 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

647 Citations
267.69 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2015
    • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      • • Division of Allergy and Immunology
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      Borough of Manhattan, New York, United States
    • University of Western Australia
      • School of Paediatrics and Child Health
      Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • 2012
    • Rady Children's Hospital
      San Diego, California, United States