Discovery of key regulatory factor may offer new treatment target for allergic diseases

May 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have identified a mechanism that causes inflammation in asthma and other allergic diseases, a discovery that could lead to new targets to control such allergic reactions.

By identifying a that is key to the mechanism and then blocking its production in laboratory tests, the researchers were able to define a protein responsible for causing the inflammation, said Mark H. Kaplan, professor of pediatrics, and of microbiology and immunology at the IU School of Medicine, located on the campus of Indiana University -Purdue University Indianapolis. The research is being reported online today in the June 2010 issue of the journal .

The IU research team was investigating the chain of events -- and proteins -- that result in the production of a substance called IL-9, which causes a variety of inflammatory responses, such as mucus production in the lungs. Recently other scientists had discovered the existence of a new type of T-cell, one of the body's used to ward off infections. That newly discovered type of T-cell was found to produce IL-9. Kaplan's team, in turn, found that a regulatory factor called PU.1 is necessary for the development of the new type of T-cell.

"We see increased IL-9 production in patients with allergic disease -- allergies, asthma, eczema," said Kaplan, director of pediatric pulmonary basic research and investigator at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research.

"Effectively targeting PU.1 to prevent its activation could lead to improved treatments for patients who must deal with the inflammation caused by these ," Kaplan said.

Explore further: Ultrasound enhancement provides clarity to damaged tendons, ligaments

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Key Signaling Switch Identified in Allergic Disease

Oct 30, 2006

A research team has identified a key enzyme responsible for triggering a chain of events that results in allergic reaction, according to new study findings published online this week in Nature Immunology.

Immune system pathway identified to fight allergens, asthma

May 07, 2008

For the first time, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have identified genetic components of dendritic cells that are key to asthma and allergy-related immune response malfunction. Targeting ...

Recommended for you

A better way to track emerging cell therapies using MRIs

21 hours ago

Cellular therapeutics – using intact cells to treat and cure disease – is a hugely promising new approach in medicine but it is hindered by the inability of doctors and scientists to effectively track the movements, destination ...

User comments : 0