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How body turns of innate immune response to avoid allergic reactions

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Posted November 26, 2015

Human body has a non-specific response to pathogens, called the innate immune response. For a long time it was understood in a very oversimplified way, but now scientists reveal more and more facts about the mechanisms behind the innate immune response. Now scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan have revealed how our body stops the innate immune response when it is not needed to avoid allergic diseases.

A person receiving a skin prick test (SPT). An SPT is performed by using a needle to place a tiny amount of liquid allergen just under the skin of the forearm. SPTs are safe and the results, a raised bump with redness around it (called a wheal and flare), usually appear within 30 minutes. A number of allergens can be tested with an SPT, including ragweed, house dust mite, cat, grass, egg, milk, and peanut. Image credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) via Wikimedia, Public Domain

A person receiving a skin prick test (SPT). An SPT is performed by using a needle to place a tiny amount of liquid allergen just under the skin of the forearm. SPTs are safe and the results, a raised bump with redness around it (called a wheal and flare), usually appear within 30 minutes. A number of allergens can be tested with an SPT, including ragweed, house dust mite, cat, grass, egg, milk, and peanut. Image credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) via Wikimedia, Public Domain

This may be a confusing mechanism, but type 2 innate immune response, although protects from such parasites as helminths, has been implicated in allergic inflammatory responses such as asthma caused by fungal infections. Such response is crucial for humans, because parasitic warms in the developing world is a cause for a great number of fatalities, but it can also be dangerous if lasts too long.

Scientists found that response included a population of longer-lived innate lymphoid cells, therefore, in order to understand how body avoids allergic inflammations, associated to prolonged response, scientists set out to investigate how these cells are turned off.

Diseases caused by parasitic warms, such as schistosomiasis, is a major problem in the developing world. But only now scientists are beginning to understand the body’s key defence system against these parasites and some fungal infections, the type 2 innate immune response. Image credit: SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Diseases caused by parasitic warms, such as schistosomiasis, is a major problem in the developing world. But only now scientists are beginning to understand the body’s key defence system against these parasites and some fungal infections, the type 2 innate immune response. Image credit: SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Scientists found that these cells may be turned off by certain cytokine chemicals. They also discovered that, contrary to previous knowledge, these cells do not travel to the location they are needed in, but are already there, just gets activated when needed.

Kazuyo Moro, the research team leader, said: “this showsthat the response is mounted in a very locally specific way. This may be another way for the body to prevent the lasting inflammation that can be associated with the response.”

The results of this research are very useful, because they helped scientists to understand how the type 2 innate response changes to be both beneficial and harmful. Researchers hope that it will be an inspiration to take a deeper look into the mechanisms of type 1 and type 3 innate responses that are also understood only to a limited degree. Better understanding of the complexity of our immune response may help creating new therapies that address body’s reactions to such infections.

Source: Riken

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