Study May Have Found Intestinal Tissues Responsible for Food Allergies

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A study published in PLOS ONE identifies the tissues responsible for driving intestinal damage caused by egg white allergies, its researchers say. This could pave the way towards tissue-targeted treatments for several types of allergies. The study focused on egg white allergies as its mouse-based model was conducive to that allergen.

The University of Tokyo researchers behind the study aimed to find out tolerance levels for mice expressing the egg allergen ovalbumin, which causes intestinal inflammation when egg whites are fed. As a relatively common laboratory allergen in mice, this "T-cell receptor" study is simple to conduct and replicate.

Furthering research, the team then bred mice to specifically be deficient in specific lymphoid tissues and tried again. This time, they found that a specific type of lymph tissue, called mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and Peyer's patch (PP) nodes in the intestinal tract work cooperatively to react to the egg white allergens. The MLNs, however, continue their inflammatory response even after tolerance levels have been raised.

The study suggests, say researchers, that the complex response of the immune system is a balance of actors and if one of them, in this case MLN, is off, the reaction results in food allergies.

The study can be found here.

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