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article imageLooking for new targets for allergy drug development

By Tim Sandle     Nov 14, 2020 in Science
An important aspect of the immune system's response to allergens has been found. Here a laboratory has identified a neuropeptide (Substance P), which is essential in the development of allergen-induced immune responses.
What is important about Substance P, released by certain neurons in the skin when they detect allergens, is that it could pave the way towards novel techniques for the treatment of an array of allergies. The dicovery has been made at the Massachusetts General Hospital, U.S.
The causes of allergens are varied and in some cases, uncertain. For example, one research strand discovered how compared with a father's traits related to allergies and asthma, a mother's traits lead to a higher risk in terms of a child going onto develop the same traits. These traits invariably appear during early childhood. Asthma and other allergy relate research is important, given the numbers affected. Take the U.S. as an example, asthma affects between 8 to 15 percent of people, and is typically triggered by dust mites, tree and grass pollens, and other allergens.
With Substance P and the potential to create new medications, this is possible on the basis that the body’s sensory-neuron-dependent pathway, and Substance P, are necessary to trigger an immune response to allergens. If a drug can be developed to interrupt this mechanism, then this may hold the basis for a compound capable of preventing the allergic immune response.
The outcome of the Substance P research is reported in the publication Immunity, where the associated paper is titled "Substance P Release by Sensory Neurons Triggers Dendritic Cell Migration and Initiates the Type-2 Immune Response to Allergens."
In another example, a team from La Jolla Institute for Immunology have looked at the reasons why non-allergic people do not have a strong reaction to house dust mites. The scientists have uncovered a subset of T cells that appear to control allergic immune reactions and asthma, preventing a reaction from occurring. The newly discovered cells are termed called interleukin (IL)-9 Th2 expressing HDM-reactive cells.
It is hoped the discovery will lead to a new medication. The research is published in the journal Scientific Immunology, titled “Single-cell transcriptomic analysis of allergen-specific T cells in allergy and asthma.”
More about Asthma, drug development, Allergies, Immune System
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