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 ̵
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.
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).
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.
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