Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cellular On And Off Switch For Allergies And Asthma Discovered

Date:
May 4, 2009
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
If you're one of the millions who dread the spring allergy season, things are looking up. Scientists have identified a previously unknown cellular switch that turns allergies and asthma both on and off.

If you're one of the millions who dread the spring allergy season, things are looking up. A research study appearing in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows how a team of American scientists have identified a previously unknown cellular switch that turns allergies and asthma both on and off.

Related Articles


Equally important, this study also suggests that at least for some people with asthma and allergies, their problems might be caused by genes that prevent this switch from working properly. Taken together, this information is an important first step toward new medications that address the root causes of allergies, asthma and other similar diseases.

"This study uncovers some of the basic mechanisms that control whether or not people have asthma and allergies and the severity of the symptoms," said John Ryan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a senior scientist involved in the research. "This understanding opens new avenues for treating these and other related diseases."

Ryan and colleagues made this discovery in mouse experiments that examined cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood that ultimately help create a type of immune cell (mast cells). Too many mast cells lead to an over-aggressive immune response, which causes allergies and asthma. The scientists found that when chemicals (cytokines IL-4 and IL-10) used to initiate an immune response (the "on switch") are added to developing mast cells, the developing cells die.

Because bone marrow makes both mast cells and these cytokines, the researchers conclude that just as the cytokines serve as the "on switch" for the immune system, bone marrow cells also use them as the "off switch" to stop mast cells from getting out of hand. Further supporting their discovery was the finding that strains of mice prone to allergies and asthma had genes which affected the production of this chemical "off switch" in their bone marrow.

"The immune system has an incredible capacity for balance and counterbalance to maintain optimal and properly tuned immune responses," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, "The studies by Ryan and colleagues are an excellent example of this inherent self-regulation of the immune system and how an imbalance in mast cell regulation could contribute to allergy and disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Cellular On And Off Switch For Allergies And Asthma Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430101451.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2009, May 4). Cellular On And Off Switch For Allergies And Asthma Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430101451.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Cellular On And Off Switch For Allergies And Asthma Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430101451.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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