Background: Cow’s milk allergy is the most common cause of clinically relevant adverse reactions to food in infants and children. Partially and extensively hydrolyzed formulae are used for the therapy and prevention of cow’s milk allergy. However, the immunogenic potency of hydrolyzed cow’s milk formulae to induce and/or enhance the allergic phenotype in vivo is still under debate. The aim of this study was to assess the sensitizing capacity and residual allergenicity of various partially and extensively hydrolyzed cow’s milk formulae in a murine model of cow’s milk allergy. Methods: BALB/c mice were immunized with either a cow’s milk formula or various partially and extensively hydrolyzed formulae. Immediate cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions and allergen-specific antibody production were assessed. Results: Although immunization with cow’s milk resulted in 12/13 cases in a positive skin test response to intradermal injection of cow’s milk formulae, only 1 mouse showed a positive skin test to one of the partially hydrolyzed formulae, and none showed positive reactions to other partially hydrolyzed formulae, any of the extensively hydrolyzed formulae, phosphate-buffered saline or the amino acid formula. However, 6 of 8 mice showed positive skin tests when immunized with partially hydrolyzed formulae and with one of the extensively hydrolyzed formulae. Conclusions: The residual allergenic potential is markedly reduced in many hydrolyzed formulae, but most of the formulae investigated could induce an allergic immune response in BALB/c mice. Our murine model seems to be suitable to investigate the sensitizing capacity of hydrolyzed formulae and to differentiate even between extensively hydrolyzed formulae.

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