Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A bad alliance: Rare immune cells promote food-induced allergic inflammation in the esophagus

Date:
July 21, 2013
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Until recently, how EoE, a food allergy-associated disease, developed was unclear, but a new study shows that a type of rare immune cell and specific reactions to allergenic foods team up -- in a bad way. This association does point to new ways to possibly treat inflammation associated with EoE.

Visualizing eosinophilic esophagitis: this is a computer-enhanced color image of an immune cell infiltrating the inflamed esophagus of a mouse.
Credit: Mario Noti, Elia Tait Wojno, and David Artis, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

ood is an integral part of life; but, for some, it can be harmful. Allergic inflammation caused by inappropriate immune responses to some types of food has become a major public health issue. Over the past ten years, the prevalence of food allergies has increased by nearly 20 percent, affecting an estimated six million people in the U.S.

Related Articles


Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a food allergy-associated disease that affects children and adults and is caused by inflammation in response to such trigger foods as eggs, nuts, milk, wheat, and soy. Inflammation of the esophagus, as seen in EoE patients, can eventually lead to debilitating esophageal dysfunction, causing difficulty in swallowing, esophageal fibrosis, and food impaction. However, current treatment options for EoE, including adherence to strict diets, are non-specific and disruptive to patients' lifestyle.

Until recently, the mechanisms underlying the development of EoE were unclear, but a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) shows that a type of rare immune cell and specific reactions to allergenic foods team up -- in a bad way -- to cause EoE. However, this association does point to new ways to possibly treat inflammation associated with EoE.

The presence of large populations of immune cells in the esophagus of human patients with EoE suggests that the immune system might contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease. In earlier work, researchers from CHOP, along with collaborators at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, found that genetic mutations in the gene that encodes for thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a protein that is produced by epithelial cells that line the esophagus and directs the activities of various types of immune cells, are highly associated with EoE in children. These results suggested that TSLP played an important role in the development of this disease, but how this factor contributed to esophageal inflammation in response to food was unknown.

Now, David Artis, PhD, associate professor of Microbiology at Penn, two postdoctoral researchers in the Artis lab, Mario Noti, PhD and Elia Tait Wojno, PhD, and colleagues, have identified one mechanism by which TSLP might contribute to the development of EoE. They describe their work this week online ahead of print in Nature Medicine.

Using a mouse model of EoE, Artis's group found that sensitization to egg and peanut protein, in association with increased levels of TSLP, led to the mobilization of a rare type of immune cell called basophils. In healthy people, these cells comprise less than 1 percent of the total immune cells in the body. In EoE, however, these rare cells pack a punch -- when mice with EoE were treated with therapeutic reagents that limited TSLP and basophil responses to food allergens, esophageal inflammation in these animals improved dramatically.

"The use of this new mouse model has revealed that TSLP production, and the resulting basophil responses, may be critical in promoting EoE in response to exposure to allergy-triggering foods," says Noti.

Supporting experiments in mouse models, the research team also found exaggerated TSLP and basophil responses in the esophageal biopsy tissues of pediatric and adult patients with EoE. What's more, pediatric EoE patients with a genetic mutation in the TSLP gene were more likely to have increased basophil responses in their blood compared to EoE patients that lacked this mutation.

"The identification of TSLP and basophil responses in the esophagus and peripheral blood of human patients with EoE supports our mouse model studies and indicates that these factors may play a key role in EoE in patients," says Tait Wojno.

The findings from both mouse and human studies suggest that TSLP and basophils may promote the development of inflammation in the esophagus in response to foods that trigger an allergic response in some individuals, or that TSLP and basophils could contribute to the persistence of inflammation. These factors could potentially be targeted using novel therapeutics to treat EoE in patients, say the researchers.

"Although more research is required, these studies suggest that we may be able to target TSLP and basophils to treat esophageal inflammation associated with EoE," adds Artis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mario Noti, Elia D Tait Wojno, Brian S Kim, Mark C Siracusa, Paul R Giacomin, Meera G Nair, Alain J Benitez, Kathryn R Ruymann, Amanda B Muir, David A Hill, Kudakwashe R Chikwava, Amin E Moghaddam, Quentin J Sattentau, Aneesh Alex, Chao Zhou, Jennifer H Yearley, Paul Menard-Katcher, Masato Kubo, Kazushige Obata-Ninomiya, Hajime Karasuyama, Michael R Comeau, Terri Brown-Whitehorn, Rene de Waal Malefyt, Patrick M Sleiman, Hakon Hakonarson, Antonella Cianferoni, Gary W Falk, Mei-Lun Wang, Jonathan M Spergel, David Artis. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin–elicited basophil responses promote eosinophilic esophagitis. Nature Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3281

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "A bad alliance: Rare immune cells promote food-induced allergic inflammation in the esophagus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161712.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2013, July 21). A bad alliance: Rare immune cells promote food-induced allergic inflammation in the esophagus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161712.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "A bad alliance: Rare immune cells promote food-induced allergic inflammation in the esophagus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161712.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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