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Johns Hopkins researchers turn off severe food allergies in mice
Date:10/1/2010

ergen exposure and the lack of effective treatments, preventive and therapeutic strategies are urgently needed, Zhou says.

In the laboratory, Zhou and his colleagues took a food protein that causes allergies in mice and modified it by adding special sugars. They hypothesized that, when ingested by the mice, the modified proteins would be able to bind to what are known as the SIGNR1 receptors on the immune system cells. Bound in this way, the immune system would learn to tolerate the modified food protein and the protein would no longer induce an allergic reaction, even when consumed in its unmodified form.

Zhou fed his mice the modified protein once a day for three days. Five days later, he tested them by feeding them the protein in its unmodified form. Another group of mice was not fed the modified protein at all. The severity of the allergic response to the unmodified protein which in the control-group mice tended to be tremors, convulsions and/or death was significantly decreased in those mice that had been pre-fed the modified protein. Some still had minor reactions like itchiness or puffiness around the eyes and snout, but none had serious ones. These mice appeared to be desensitized to the food protein, even when it was fed to them in its unmodified form, says Zhou. In this model, SIGNR1 plays a key role in shutting off some responses in the immune cells, but whether this is the only function of this receptor is, at present, unknown.


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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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