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Penn researchers identify immune cells that fight parasites may promote allergies and asthma
Date:3/11/2010

thma and allergy.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that as many as 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Consistent with this theory of redundancy, there are reports that show equatorial regions with an abundance of helminth parasites have populations that encounter lower rates of asthma and allergies.

"From an evolutionary perspective, it is likely that we evolved a complex immune response to fight parasitic worms, but our more sanitized environment no longer has this same population of parasites," Artis said. "This newly identified cell population could represent one of the earliest events in this type of immune response, which offers potential new targets for treatment of infection and allergic inflammation."

The research team demonstrated that a molecule called IL25, a member of the IL17 cytokine family, promotes the accumulation of a lineage-negative multipotent progenitor cell population in the intestine that promotes T cell responses associated with asthma and helminth infection. The resulting cell population gives rise to cells of macrophage and granulocyte lineages. The ability of IL25 to induce the emergence of an MPP cell population identifies a link between the IL17 cytokine family and extramedullary haematopoiesis and suggests a previously unrecognized innate immune pathway that promotes TH2 cytokine responses at mucosal sites.


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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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