Discovery may lead to the development of more effective and specific treatments for allergy-sufferers

Researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich found that the surface of the airways in adults with a house dust mite allergy are altered and the process cannot be influenced by standard cortisone therapy.  The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology says that over 300 million people suffer from asthma which alters the airway structure because of misguided repair processes.  Scientists say that age plays a huge role in this due to messenger substances called leukotrienes.

“Scientists say that age plays a huge role in this due to messenger substances called leukotrienes. “

According to Dr. Julia Esser-von Bieren, “Although drugs that target the leukotriene cascade exist, we still know too little about the exact disease mechanisms.”  The researchers in the study were looking at how age affects the expression of an allergy due to dust mites.  With the assistance of Professor Benjamin Marsland of the University Hospital CHUV in Lausanne, they found that the allergy-producing extract from house dust mites produce responses that depend on the time window with which it came in contact with the immune system.  The scientists report that a signal protein called Wnt5a, transglutaminase 2, and phospholipase A2, as well as, the leukotrienes are involved.

The scientists confirmed this via human cells and tissue from nasal polyps of patients.

In the study, the researchers found that the epithelial cells of the bronchi propagated this reaction.  Esser-von Bieren explained, “Previously it was assumed that in allergies, leukotrienes are mainly produced by certain white blood cells, the eosinophil granulocytes.  This cascade cannot be stopped through treatment with cortisone, the standard treatment for allergy.  The strong presence of the leukotriene cascade in the inflamed airway epithelium refutes the common assumption that structural cells can be neglected as leukotriene producers. On the contrary: In a chronic, cortisone-resistant inflammation in the form of asthma or nasal polyps, the use of drugs targeting the epithelial leukotriene cascade should be considered, depending on the age and allergy status of the patients.”

This research is helpful as it may assist healthcare providers in the development of effective and specific treatments for those suffering from allergies.

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