Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asthma And Allergy--The Revenge Of The Viral Nerd?

Date:
February 24, 1997
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Johns Hopkins scientists have found the first hard evidence that viral infections can help cause asthma and allergies, a connection long suspected but never directly confirmed in the lab.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Office Of Communications and Public Affairs

On Line: 76520@compuserve.com

Media contact: Michael Purdy, (410) 955-8725

E-mail: mpurdy@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

February 21, 1997

"This suggests we might one day be able to reduce the incidence of allergy and asthma by vaccinating children against mild childhood viral diseases that traditionally haven't received much attention."

ASTHMA AND ALLERGY--THE REVENGE OF THE VIRAL NERD?New Evidence Links Mild Infections to Development of Allergy and Asthma

Johns Hopkins scientists have found the first hard evidence that viral infections can help cause asthma and allergies, a connection long suspected but never directly confirmed in the lab.

Hopkins researchers showed that weak viral infections can cause immune system B cells to produce immunoglobin E or IgE, a protein that orchestrates the reactions that cause allergies and many cases of asthma.

"This suggests we might one day be able to reduce the incidence of allergy and asthma by vaccinating children against mild childhood viral diseases that traditionally haven't received much attention," says Farhad Imani, Ph.D., instructor of medicine, who presents his results at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

"We've suspected that there might be a connection since the late 70s, when studies found that kids who had more viral infections were more likely to have asthma and allergy later in life," says Imani. More recent animal studies have shown that viral infection can increase IgE levels in the blood.

In test tube studies, Imani and his colleagues exposed human B cells, which recognize and attack a particular type of intruder, to rhino and vaccinia viruses. B cells normally attack germs with immunoglobins type M or G (IgM or IgG). Imani found that after viral infections, many of the cells switched to making IgE.

"Basically, if you have a group of B cells that is producing IgE, you're going to be allergic to whatever that group of B cells is sensitive to," Imani explains.

Ironically, stronger viruses capable of causing serious disease were less likely to trigger the switch to IgE than wimpier viruses rapidly defeated by the immune system.

"This appears to be because the weaker viruses activate anti-viral protein kinase, a protein that the B cell uses to defend itself," Imani explains. "This kinase also helps stimulate the start of IgE production in the B cell."

The more sophisticated viruses have found ways to evade the kinase, but many simpler viruses still cannot avoid it.

"These weaker viruses might not cause much suffering during the infection, but they could be causing pain farther down the road by helping the development of allergies."

Imani plans further studies both to determine which viruses will switch on IgE and to flesh out the link between the activation of anti-viral protein kinase and the start of IgE production.

The study was funded by the American Lung Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Hopkins School of Medicine. Other authors were Kelly Rager, Branimir Catipovic, M.D., Vincenzo Casolaro, M.D., David Proud, Ph.D., J.O. Langland, Ph.D., Bertram Jacobs, Ph.D., and David Marsh, Ph.D.

--JHMI--

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions news releases can be accessed on-line through the following services:

To enroll in our direct e-mail news release service, call 410-955-4288.

World Wide Web at http://infonet.welch.jhu.edu/news/news_releases

CompuServe in the SciNews-MedNews library of the Journalism Forum under file extension ".JHM"; also in NASW Online in same forum.

JHMI toll-free Health NewsFeed BBS at 1-800-JHH-0046.

Quadnet: send email to: news@quad-net.com. In the body of the message type


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Asthma And Allergy--The Revenge Of The Viral Nerd?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/02/970224105136.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1997, February 24). Asthma And Allergy--The Revenge Of The Viral Nerd?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/02/970224105136.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Asthma And Allergy--The Revenge Of The Viral Nerd?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/02/970224105136.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins