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New molecule discovered in fight against allergy
Date:2/15/2012

ng of how the interaction between allergens and the immune system triggers allergy is vital if we are to develop more effective and efficient treatments for this debilitating condition."

Allergy is a disorder caused by the body's immune system reacting to harmless substances found in the environment, known as allergens. Believing itself under attack, the immune system produces an antibody called IgE, which eventually leads to the release of further chemicals (including histamine) by certain immune cells, which together cause an inflammatory response and the classic symptoms of allergy itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose and wheezing.

The Nottingham work, published this week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, has focused on the role of DC-SIGN, a receptor found on the surface of antigen presenting cells. These cells are among the first cells in the immune system that come into contact with allergens.

The team found that DC-SIGN binds to major allergen from house dust mite (Der p 1) and dogs (Can f 1) and seems to play a regulatory role in the allergic response to house dust mite allergens. The binding of allergen to DC-SIGN on antigen presenting cells seems to promote a mechanism that could dampen harmful immune responses to allergens.

This is opposite to the role of another allergen reception the mannose receptor that has previously been identified by the Nottingham group.

The discovery shows that DC-SIGN could potentially play a beneficial role in regulating immune responses to environmental allergens.


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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-15793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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