BBC News:Food allergy molecule discovered

Posted on: Mon, 07/02/2007 - 1:06am
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00



[b]Food allergy molecule discovered[/b]

[i]A molecule which may protect against food allergy has been identified.[/i]

Interleukin-12 has been shown to be "missing" in mice which were bred to be allergic to peanuts.

The results published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggest that the molecule normally stops allergies to food developing.

The Institute of Food Research scientists said the findings offered a potential target for the prevention or treatment of food allergies.

In people who suffer from a food allergy, the immune system responds to a food protein as if it was harmful by producing antibodies.

"We have identified the missing molecule that normally keeps immune responses under control and appropriate."
Dr Claudio Nicoletti, study leader

In the most severe cases individuals can suffer life-threatening reactions, including anaphylactic shock.

One of the most well-known food allergies is to peanuts. This problem is becoming increasingly common, affecting one in 70 schoolchildren.

There is currently no way to treat food allergy and the only way for sufferers to manage the problem is to avoid certain foods and make sure they have injectable adrenaline at hand.


Dr Claudio Nicoletti and colleagues had already done research which showed that special types of white blood cells called dendritic cells are important in helping the immune system decide on how to respond to foreign molecules.

They found that in allergic mice the dendritic cells are much longer lasting than normal, which over-stimulates the immune system.

In the latest study, he compared the activity of dendritic cells in the gut and in the spleen of allergic and allergy-resistant mice.

He found that in the gut of susceptible mice, dendritic cells have stopped producing interleukin-12.

Dr Nicoletti said delivering an allergen, such as peanut, alongside the interleukin-12 molecule. may help to bring allergic reactions back under control.

He is doing a further study to test this theory in mice.

"A food protein can be perfectly harmless to one person and lethal to another," he said.

"We have identified the missing molecule that normally keeps immune responses under control and appropriate."

Dr Nicoletti is also working with researchers in Ireland to identify whether similar characteristics can be found in human dendritic cells.

Preliminary findings suggest the dendritic cells in individuals with a food allergy are also longer lasting.

David Reading, director of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: "Food allergy can place an extremely heavy burden on the families affected.

"We welcome this research and look forward to further developments."

Posted on: Mon, 07/02/2007 - 3:02am
April in KC's picture
Joined: 08/28/2006 - 09:00

Absolutely fascinating; thanks for posting.
So IL-12 is missing in mice who were bred to be allergic.
On Wikipedia article about Interleukin-12, one section mentions this NEGATIVE effect of IL-12 on autoimmune conditions (also note the interesting reference to IL-12 knockout mice):
[begin quote]
IL-12 and autoimmunity
IL-12 is linked with autoimmunity. Administration of IL-12 to people suffering from autoimmune diseases was shown to worsen the autoimmune phenomena. This is believed to be due to its key role in induction of Th1 immune responses. In contrast, IL-12 gene knock-out in mice or a treatment of mice with IL-12 specific antibodies ameliorated the disease.
[end quote]
I wonder what the relationship between IL-12, autoimmunity and allergy will prove to be? If they "fix" IL-12 in susceptible individuals, will it possibly worsen other autoimmune conditions? I hope scientists figure this out.
Nate has PA and Celiac. The Celiac is definitely genetically linked. It would be interesting if it turned out that allergy was a compensating response to underlying autoimmune conditions, or vice versa. Not saying it is or isn't - but I have wondered about the relationship. There are some others here with autoimmunity in their families.
[This message has been edited by April in KC (edited July 02, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 07/02/2007 - 5:02am
BBCBMom's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

Thanks for posting. Very interesting.

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.

Latest Discussions

Latest Post by Theschaeffers Mon, 07/13/2020 - 10:53am
Comments: 0
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 2:17pm
Comments: 173
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 2:08pm
Comments: 714
Latest Post by beachgal2020 Thu, 07/09/2020 - 1:51pm
Comments: 483
Latest Post by doggydude (not verified) Wed, 07/08/2020 - 6:06am
Comments: 9
Latest Post by doggydude (not verified) Wed, 07/08/2020 - 6:00am
Comments: 14
Latest Post by SmilinMo Tue, 06/09/2020 - 11:29am
Comments: 7
Latest Post by MoRich Mon, 06/01/2020 - 10:06am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by Sarah McKenzie Fri, 05/22/2020 - 12:57pm
Comments: 6

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

Peanuts and Nuts Can Trigger An Asthma Attack

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3...

There are more "peanut-free" products than ever on the supermarket shelves. This means more choices than ever for peanut-allergic shoppers and...

It Is Easy To Buy Peanut Free Chocolate Online

Ask any parent of a child with a potentially life-...

How Do You Determine If A Food Is Safe For A Peanut Allergic Person?

The answer varies. “Peanut-free” means different things to different...

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a New Drug Application for an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) designed for use with...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

It can be easy to overlook the presence of nut allergens in non-food items because the allergens are often listed by their Latin or scientific...

It’s hard to think of Chinese food without thinking of peanuts. China is the world’s leading peanut producer, and that’s not a coincidence....

Soymilk is one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk. As well as being rich in fiber, soy is a great source of protein and contains all...

My mom was at a lakeside restaurant enjoying fish and chips when her mouth began tingling. The next day at a family gathering, we had grilled...

Peanuts and peanut oil are cheap and easy additives to food and other commercial goods. It is surprising (and alarming if you have a...

Vegetable oil is healthy before it is hydrogenated and a process that requires adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. Oils that are often...

Although it's true that peanuts are in many snack items, there are several snacks that do not contain peanuts. Anyone who has a peanut...

The most frightening thing about a severe allergic reaction to a new food is that it can happen so fast. If parents are not looking for allergic...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

Families who have food allergies are familiar with reading food labels and of being aware of everything that they or their allergic child eats....

If a parent is alert and observing their toddler when peanuts are first introduced, the chance of the child receiving help if she has a reaction...

For those who don't have experience with peanut allergies, going 'peanut-free' often seems as easy as avoiding peanut butter sandwiches and bags...

Dealing with food allergies can be difficult, especially if you're not sure what's 'safe' to buy. This is especially true for those with severe...

Are you craving sweets? Those with peanut allergies must be especially careful when indulging their...