Chemical clues to anaphylaxis
Researchers have found two chemical clues that may help them tame sudden, severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
The first clue: people with anaphylaxis have high blood levels of an inflammatory chemical called platelet-activating factor (PAF).
The second clue: anaphylaxis patients have low blood levels of PAF acetylhydrolase, an enzyme that breaks down PAF.
Those patterns may lead to new drugs to block PAF and treat anaphylaxis, Canadian researchers report.
Peter Vadas MD PhD and colleagues report their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine. Vadas works in Toronto at St Michael's Hospital.
The study may also lead to better tests to diagnose anaphylaxis, writes A. Wesley Burks, MD, in an editorial published with the study. Burks works in the allergy and immunology division of Duke University Medical Center's pediatrics department.
Courtesy of Miranda Hitti - WebMD Medical News
First published in March 2008
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