How do hydrolysates reduce the risk of cow’s milk allergy?

Hydrolysis of the milk protein reduces the allergenic potential of the protein. In milk proteins, many epitopes are present, which are specific surface features on a protein and can be recognised by the immune system. The binding of an epitope by two IgE antibodies is required for IgE-crosslinking, resulting in the release of inflammatory mediators, like histamine, which are responsible for allergic reactions. Enzymatic hydrolysis destroys both linear and structural epitopes of proteins and is the most effective mode to reduce the allergenicity of a protein. Therefore, infant formulas based on cow’s milk hydrolysates offer a solution as they offer all the necessary proteins, but in a predigested form.