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.

Explore further: Cells use allergic response to protect against cancer-causing damage

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

Team finds early inflammatory response paralyzes T cells

August 18, 2015

In a discovery that is likely to rewrite immunology text books, researchers at UC Davis have found that early exposure to inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 2, can "paralyze" CD4 T cells, immune components that help ...

SIV shrugs off antibodies in vaccinated monkeys

August 11, 2015

New research on monkeys vaccinated against HIV's relative SIV calls into question an idea that has driven AIDS vaccine work for years. The assumption: a protective vaccine only needs to stimulate moderate levels of antibodies ...

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.