Histamine H1 receptor breakthrough heralds improved allergy treatments

An international team of scientists has successfully opened the way for ‘third-generation’ anti-histamines that would be effective against various allergies without causing adverse side-effects. Using the UK’s Diamond Light Source national synchroton facility, the team, made up of experts from The Scripps Research Institute in California, Kyoto University in Japan and Imperial College London and Diamond in the UK, have uncovered the molecular structure of the Histamine H1 receptor protein and know how it interacts with anti-histamines. This will allow further research into how the histamine triggers an allergic reaction, and how drugs react to prevent this reaction.

The H1 receptor protein is found in the cell membranes of various human tissues such as airways, vascular, intestinal muscles and the brain. It binds to histamine, which is an important function of the immune system, but in some individuals can cause allergic reactions. Anti-histamine drugs work because they prevent histamine attaching to H1 receptors.

Source: Nature

First published in May 2011

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