One of the difficulties in peanut allergy research is replicating human symptoms in animals. Animals are not normally allergic to food. The trick has been in creating an allergic reaction in a test animal that is the same as an allergic reaction in a person. Scientists need to do this in order to study ways to prevent and treat reactions in people.
Recently, researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, fed mice a mixture of whole peanut extract and a toxin from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus to simulate the human anaphylactic reaction to peanuts in mice. This specific bacteria was chosen because is commonly found on the skin of people with eczema and in the nasal cavities of people with sinusitis.
This combination worked. The mice began to experience swelling around the eyes and mouth. They had trouble breathing and their blood tests revealed high amounts of histamine. These are all characteristics of an anaphylactic reaction in a person.
Scientists believe the results from this study will aid future research projects in the search for a cause and cure for peanut allergy.
The National Institute Report can be Peanut Allergyviewed here.