Researcher discovers peanut allergy mechanism in the intestines
Peanut allergens cross a model of the gut lining, causing it to leak, new research by Dr. Dwan Price from Deakin University in Victoria has revealed.
The allergens hijack the transport mechanisms of cells in the intestine, disrupting the bonds that hold the gut lining together, making it permeable.
"This is an extremely exciting finding because it helps explain why peanut allergens are so very potent," Dr. Price says.
"It helps us understand why peanut allergy persists lifelong and only trace amounts are needed to trigger fatal anaphylaxis."
"It's important to note, that this work was performed on intestinal cells and doesn't mean that peanuts will make your gut leaky. What it means is we know more about this powerful allergen and how it acts to trigger allergy"
The discovery provides new opportunities to tackle the condition, which affects 4% of the population. These include finding ways to prevent the allergen attacking the gut lining—and the development of a novel nut that doesn't trigger an allergic reaction.
Dwan Price et al. Nuts 'n' guts: transport of food allergens across the intestinal epithelium, Asia Pacific Allergy (2013). DOI: 10.5415/apallergy.2013.3.4.257