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Mouse studies suggest that scratching the skin prepares the gut for allergic reactions to food



Media Advisory

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Research funded by NIH highlights the link between eczema and food allergies of activated mast cells – immune cells involved in allergic reactions – in the small intestine, according to studies in mice. This newly identified skin-intestinal communication helps to show the relationship between food allergies and atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), a condition characterized by dry, itchy skin. The study was supported by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and led by researchers from the Boston Children's Hospital.

Atopic dermatitis is a strong risk factor for the development of a food allergy The exact relationship between the two conditions remains unclear. Since itching is a major symptom of atopic dermatitis, those affected, especially babies, often scratch the skin. In the current study, it is suggested that scratching the skin causes mast cell expansion in the gut.

The researchers found that some cells in the skin respond to scratches ̵

1; simulated by attaching and removing small streaks on the skin of mice – by producing a cell signaling protein called IL-33 that enters the bloodstream. When IL-33 reaches the intestine, it works together with IL-25, a protein secreted by cells in the intestinal mucosa, to activate type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). Activated ILC2s form two additional cell signaling proteins, IL-13 and IL-4, which are responsible for the expansion of intestinal mast cells.

The researchers also found that the intestinal lining expanded with the expansion of mast cells permeable, allowing allergens to more easily penetrate the tissue. Remarkably, mice that were taped off reacted more to food allergens than mice that did not. Finally, the researchers found that gut biopsies from four children with atopic dermatitis contained more mast cells than those from four children without the disease.

Although additional work is needed to determine the relevance of the results to humans, the researchers suggest interventions that limit itching could reduce the severity of food allergy in atopic dermatitis.

Article

JM Leyva-Castillo, C. Galand, et al. Mechanical dermal injury promotes anaphylaxis of food by promoting the expansion of intestinal mast cells. Immunity DOI: 10.1016 / j.immuni.2019.03.023 (2019).

Who

Dr. Wendy Davidson, program officer in the Department of Allergy, Asthma and Respiratory Biology in the Department of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation of NIAID and Alkis Togias, head of the same industry, can comment on the research.

Contact

To schedule interviews, please contact Hillary Hoffman, (301) 402-1663, hillary.hoffman@nih.gov.

This media availability describes a fundamental research finding. Basic research improves our understanding of human behavior and biology, which is fundamental to the development of new and better methods for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Science is an unpredictable and incremental process – every advance in research builds on previous discoveries, often in unexpected ways. Most clinical advances would not be possible without the knowledge of basic basic research.

NIAID leads and supports research at the NIH, in the US and worldwide to investigate the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases and develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these diseases. Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related material are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the country's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports basic medical research, clinical and translational research, and investigates the causes, treatments, and treatments for common and rare diseases. More information about the NIH and its programs can be found at www.nih.gov.

NIH … The Discovery of Health ®

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