Slowing the allergic march

An article in Nature reveals that research led by Dr David Artis, associate professor of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and involvomg a team of international scientists, has identified a protein that may influence susceptibility to ‘the allergic march’.

The allergic march is a term used to describe the accumulation of allergic diseases that begins in infancy or early childhood, and which has become increasingly prevalent in developed countries over the last three decades.

The protein, TSLP, regulates the maturation of basophils, which are an uncommon type of white blood cell. The scientists looked at previous reports associating exaggerated TSLP production with asthma, eczema and food allergies, and with increased susceptibility to multiple allergic disorders. In the new study, mice that over-expressed TSLP developed inflammation in their lungs, skin and gut, that was associated with high levels of basophils. Translating this into humans, the scientists examined basophil responses in children with food allergy associated diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They found that in children with food allergies, basophils show a different molecular make-up compared to non-allergy patients.

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

First published in August 2011

More miscellaneous research reports on food allergy

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