Findings could keep allergies in check

August 7, 2012

Fresh insight into infection could improve scientists’ understanding of allergies and inform new treatments.

Edinburgh research into the has shed light on the role of a cell that is involved in the body’s response to allergens, such as dust, pollen or pet hair.

The cell type - called a dendritic cell - is already known for helping to co-ordinate the body’s response to .

It does this by enabling the immune system to activate the white blood cells that fight back at infection.

Cell role
Scientists have shown that dendritic cells also have a role in dampening the body’s immune response when it overreacts and could cause harm.

In effect, they can act as regulators for the immune system, helping to keep it in check.

Researchers say their discovery gives new insight into the type of immune response involved in allergic reactions, which occur when the immune system overreacts to allergens.

Their findings could inform the development of therapies to influence this mechanism and so suppress allergic reactions.

Fighting infection
The discovery was confirmed by studying the to infection in mice and in lab tests.

Scientists say it helps explain how the body controls its fight against infection and seeks to restore stability.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health in the US, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It was supported by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

"This gives us new insight into the complex workings of the immune system and takes us a valuable step closer to being able to control inflammation of the kind found in allergic reactions," said Andrew MacDonald, School of Biological Sciences.

Related Stories

How malaria evades the body's immune response

July 12, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- The parasites that cause human malaria and make it particularly lethal have a unique ability to evade destruction by the body’s immune system, diminishing its ability to develop immunity and fight ...

Recommended for you

How to become a T follicular helper cell

July 30, 2015

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the ...

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders

July 20, 2015

The human immune system is a powerful and wonderful creation. If you cut your skin, your body mobilizes a series of different proteins and cells to heal the cut. If you are infected by a virus or bacteria, your immune system ...

The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

July 10, 2015

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.