'Anti-allergy' protein may help reduce allergic reactions

A University of Tsukuba team, led by Professor Akira Shibuya, has discovered a protein, called Allergin-1, on the surface of both mice and human mast cells, which inhibits the cells from transmitting signals to discharge histamine.

(Normally allergic reactions, such as the release of histamine, are triggered when a mast cell comes into contact with what it perceives to be an alien substance and transmits ‘instructions’ to discharge histamine and other similar chemicals which attempt to expel it thereby causing severe allergic reactions.)

It appears that the protein exists naturally in both humans and mice and that mice deficient in Allergin-1 suffered severe allergies.

The researchers believe that if they can develop Allergin-1 enhancing medicines they may be able to block the discharge of histamine and allergic reaction-causing substances.

Nature Immunology

First published in June 2010

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