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Concept: Allergy


Resveratrol is a bioactive polyphenol enriched in red wine that exhibits many beneficial health effects via multiple mechanisms. However, it is unclear whether resveratrol is beneficial for the prevention of food allergy. This study investigated whether resveratrol inhibited the development of food allergy by using a mouse model of the disease.

Concepts: Human, Nutrition, Allergy, Mouse, Resveratrol, Wine, Polyphenol, French Paradox


Recent studies have shown that zinc ion (Zn) can behave as an intracellular signaling molecule. We previously demonstrated that mast cells stimulated through the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) rapidly release intracellular Zn from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and we named this phenomenon the “Zn wave”. However, the molecules responsible for releasing Zn and the roles of the Zn wave were elusive. Here we identified the pore-forming α(1) subunit of the Cav1.3 (α(1D)) L-type calcium channel (LTCC) as the gatekeeper for the Zn wave. LTCC antagonists inhibited the Zn wave, and an agonist was sufficient to induce it. Notably, α(1D) was mainly localized to the ER rather than the plasma membrane in mast cells, and the Zn wave was impaired by α(1D) knockdown. We further found that the LTCC-mediated Zn wave positively controlled cytokine gene induction by enhancing the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB. Consistent with this finding, LTCC antagonists inhibited the cytokine-mediated delayed-type allergic reaction in mice without affecting the immediate-type allergic reaction. These findings indicated that the LTCC α(1D) subunit located on the ER membrane has a novel function as a gatekeeper for the Zn wave, which is involved in regulating NF-κB signaling and the delayed-type allergic reaction.

Concepts: Immune system, Signal transduction, Asthma, Cell membrane, Cell biology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell


Crosslinking of immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) bound at the surface of mast cells and subsequent mediator release is considered the most important trigger for allergic reactions. Therefore, the genetic control of IgE levels is studied in the context of allergic diseases, such as asthma, atopic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis (AD). We performed genome-wide association studies in 161 Labrador Retrievers with regard to total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. We identified a genome-wide significant association on CFA 5 with the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Acarus siro. We detected a second genome-wide significant association with respect to the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Tyrophagus putrescentiae at a different locus on chromosome 5. A. siro and T. putrescentiae both belong to the family Acaridae and represent so-called storage or forage mites. These forage mites are discussed as major allergen sources in canine AD. No obvious candidate gene for the regulation of IgE levels is located under the two association signals. Therefore our studies offer a chance of identifying a novel mechanism controlling the host’s IgE response.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Atopy


BACKGROUND: Food allergy has been reported increasingly around the world during the past several decades. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common herpesvirus with high infection rate, is now suspected to be a risk or protective factor in food allergy. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible role of EBV infection in IgE-mediated food allergy. METHODS: 34 patients with an egg allergy and 34 healthy controls participated in this study. Egg allergy was confirmed by open-food challenge. Serum anti-viral capsid antigen (VCA), anti-Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) IgG and egg specific (yolk and white)-IgE levels were evaluated by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At the same time, EBV DNA as well as viral miRNAs in these samples was quantified by real-time PCR. RESULTS: The results showed that serum anti EBNA-1 IgG and two viral miRNAs (miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7) were highly expressed in patients with egg allergy compared with healthy controls (p < 0.05, < 0.001 and < 0.01, respectively). Moreover, the expressions of anti EBNA-1 specific IgG, miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7 positively correlated with the level of egg-specific IgE (p < 0.05, < 0.01 and < 0.01, respectively). The differences in anti VCA IgG concentration and EBV DNA copy number between the allergy patients and control individuals were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: The high expression of EBV-specific antibody and miRNAs indicated that EBV infection might play a promoting role in IgE-mediated egg food allergy, and viral miRNAs-related immunomodulatory pathway was likely involved in this allergy process.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Virus, Egg, Immunology, Allergy, Food allergy, Epstein-Barr virus


Food allergy has increased dramatically in prevalence over the past decade in westernized countries, and is now a major public health problem. Unfortunately for patients with food allergy, there is no effective therapy beyond food allergen avoidance, and rapid medical treatment for accidental exposures. Recently, oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been investigated as a treatment for this problem. In this review, we will discuss the progress in developing OIT for food allergy, including a novel approach utilizing Xolair (anti-IgE monoclonal antibody, omalizumab) in combination with OIT. This combination may enhance both the safety and efficacy of oral immunotherapy, and could lead to a widely available and safe therapy for food allergy.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Asthma, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Food allergy


Mast cell-derived mediators mediate several of the pathological features of asthma. Microbial infections induce asthma exacerbations in which the contribution of mast cells remains incomprehensible.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Asthma, Cell biology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Leukotriene


BACKGROUND: Bronchial asthma is one of the most prevalent diseases in Arab children. Environmental pollution has been suggested to be considered causative of asthma, nasal symptoms and bronchitis in both children and adult. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the association between serum polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) levels, asthma and allergic outcomes among Saudi children aged up to 15 yrs. We hypothesized that increased serum PAHs are associated with allergy, asthma, or respiratory symptoms. METHODS: A total of 195 Saudi children (98 asthma pediatric patients and 97 healthy controls) were randomly selected from the Riyadh Cohort Study for inclusion. The diagnosis of Asthma was based on established pediatric diagnosis and medications taken. RESULTS: Asthma related markers showed highly significant differences between children with and without asthma. Thus IgE, resistin and IL-4 were significantly increased (p 0.004, 0.001 and 0.003, respectively) in children with asthma compared with non-asthma control subjects. GMCSF, IFN-gamma, IL-5, IL-8 and IL-10, on the other hand, were significantly decreased in children with asthma (p 0.003, 0.03, 0.001, 0.004 and 0.03, respectively). Strong associations between serum PAHs levels and biomarkers of childhood asthma were detected in Arabic children. Data confirmed the role of naphthalene, 4H-cyclobenta[def]phenanthrene, 1,2-benzanthracene, chrysene and benzo(e)acephenanthrylene in childhood asthma; levels of these PAHs were correlated with asthma related biomarkers including IgE, resistin, GMCSF and IFN-gamma as well as IL-4, IL-5, IL-8 and IL-10 cytokines. CONCLUSIONS: This data highlight the pivotal role of specific PAHs in childhood asthma.

Concepts: Asthma, Allergy, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Hydrocarbon, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Chrysene


Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation are key pathophysiological features of asthma. Bronchial provocation tests (BPTs) are objective tests for AHR that are clinically useful to aid in the diagnosis of asthma in both adults and children. BPTs can be either “direct” or “indirect,” referring to the mechanism by which a stimulus mediates bronchoconstriction. Direct BPTs refer to the administration of pharmacological agonist (e.g., methacholine or histamine) that act on specific receptors on the airway smooth muscle. Airway inflammation and/or airway remodeling may be key determinants of the response to direct stimuli. Indirect BPTs are those in which the stimulus causes the release of mediators of bronchoconstriction from inflammatory cells (e.g., exercise, allergen, mannitol). Airway sensitivity to indirect stimuli is dependent upon the presence of inflammation (e.g., mast cells, eosinophils), which responds to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Thus, there is a stronger relationship between indices of steroid-sensitive inflammation (e.g., sputum eosinophils, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide) and airway sensitivity to indirect compared to direct stimuli. Regular treatment with ICS does not result in the complete inhibition of responsiveness to direct stimuli. AHR to indirect stimuli identifies individuals that are highly likely to have a clinical improvement with ICS therapy in association with an inhibition of airway sensitivity following weeks to months of treatment with ICS. To comprehend the clinical utility of direct or indirect stimuli in either diagnosis of asthma or monitoring of therapeutic intervention requires an understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of AHR and mechanisms of action of both stimuli.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Asthma, Allergy, Mast cell, Histamine, Nitric oxide, Exhaled nitric oxide


Sheep scab is an intensively pruritic, exudative and allergic dermatitis of sheep caused by the ectoparasitic mite Psoroptes ovis. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of P. ovis infestation on different components of the ovine epidermal barrier within the first 24 hours post-infestation (hpi). To achieve this, the expression of epidermal differentiation complex (EDC) genes and epidermal barrier proteins, the nature and severity of epidermal pathology and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) were evaluated.By 1 hpi a significant dermal polymorphonuclear infiltrate and a significant increase in TEWL with maximal mean TEWL (598.67 g/m2h) were observed. Epidermal pathology involving intra-epidermal pustulation, loss of epidermal architecture and damage to the basement membrane was seen by 3 hpi. Filaggrin and loricrin protein levels in the stratum corneum declined significantly in the first 24 hpi and qPCR validation confirmed the decrease in expression of the key EDC genes involucrin, filaggrin and loricrin observed by microarray analysis, with 5.8-fold, 4.5-fold and 80-fold decreases, respectively by 24 hpi.The present study has demonstrated that early P. ovis infestation disrupts the ovine epidermal barrier causing significant alterations in the expression of critical barrier components, epidermal pathology, and TEWL. Many of these features have also been documented in human and canine atopic dermatitis suggesting that sheep scab may provide a model for the elucidation of events occurring in the early phases of atopic sensitisation.

Concepts: Protein, Allergy, C-reactive protein, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Glossary of sheep husbandry, Sheep husbandry


Asthma is associated with increased levels of eosinophils in tissues, body fluids, and bone marrow. Elevated levels of eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EDN) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) have been noted in asthma patients. Higher levels of EDN and ECP are also associated with exacerbated asthmatic conditions. Thus, EDN, along with ECP, may aid the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma. Several groups have suggested that EDN is more useful than ECP in evaluating disease severity. This may partially be because of the recoverability of EDN (not sticky, 100% recovery rate), as ECP is a sticky and more highly charged protein. In terms of clinical utility, EDN level is a more accurate biomarker than ECP when analyzing the underlying pathophysiology of asthma. As a monitoring tool, EDN has shown good results in children with asthma as well as other allergic diseases. In children too young to fully participate in lung function tests, EDN levels may be useful as an alter native measurement of eosinophilic inflammation. EDN can also be used in adult patients and in multiple specimen types (e.g., serum, sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and nasal lavage fluid). These results are repeatable and reproducible. In conclusion, EDN may be a novel biomarker for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of asthma/allergic disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Pulmonology, Asthma, Allergy, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Spirometry, Peak flow meter, Eosinophil granulocyte