Thursday 20 November, 2014

Simple mechanism could treat allergies

Published On: Tue, Oct 30th, 2012 | Allergy | By IANS

A discovery based on a synthetic molecule could pave the way for quick-acting remedies for a host of acute allergic reactions, an international team of researchers has found.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, US, and the University of Bern, Switzerland, found that the new synthetic molecule named DARPin E2-79, disarms IgE (immunoglobulin type E) antibody, instrumental in triggering acute allergies, by detaching it from its partner in crime, a molecule called FcR or Fc receptor.

FcR is a protein found on the surface of certain cells including mast cells, immune cells present in the nasal lining and in the eyelids, along with IgE.

Exposure to cold, for instance, causes mast cell to release histamine, a compound found in all body tissues, which causes allergic reactions.

IgE is a type of protein present in blood. Increased IgE levels have been found in about 50 percent of patients with allergic reactions, the Stanford statement said.

“It would be an incredible intervention if you could rapidly disconnect IgE antibodies in the midst of an acute allergic response,” said Ted Jardetzky, professor of structural biology and senior study investigator.

It turns out the inhibitor used by researchers does just that, the journal Nature reports.

Allergens, ranging from ragweed pollen to bee venom to peanuts, can set off IgE antibodies, resulting in allergic reactions within seconds.

The first time a potential allergen enters the body, some people respond by making allergen-specific IgE antibodies. These antibodies stick around long after the initial allergen is cleared from the body, according to a Stanford statement.

Along with the Bern scientists, the team discovered that DARPin E2-79 hastens separation of IgE from FcR by taking advantage of a moment of weakness in the relationship between IgE and FcR, quelling the allergy.

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