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Slowing the allergic march
Date:8/14/2011

s new report, mice overexpressing TSLP developed allergic inflammation in their lungs, skin, and gut that was associated with very high levels of basophils. "The critical findings are that TSLP appears to activate the development and maturation of early-stage basophils in the bone marrow and that TSLP elicits a distinct type of basophil," explains first author Mark Siracusa, PhD, a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Fellow in the Artis lab. Based on these findings, the researchers speculate that this basophil maturation could promote allergic reactions at multiple tissue sites.

To translate these findings to patient populations, Artis and colleagues teamed up with a group of pediatricians at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to examine basophil responses in children that suffer from the food allergy-associated disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, which causes inflammation of the esophagus. Previous studies have shown that TSLP is overexpressed in food allergy patients. The team showed in the Nature paper that in children with food allergies basophils exhibited a different molecular make-up compared to non-allergy patients.

"It's promising that after more than 130 years since basophils were first discovered by Paul Ehrlich in Germany, we are still finding out new things about this cell population that could help in the design of new drugs to prevent or better fight allergic diseases," concludes Artis.

With more than 50 percent of Americans estimated to suffer from at least one allergic disease, says Artis, the team is hoping that targeting TSLP and basophils may offer new therapies for multiple allergic diseases.


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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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