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Category: Allergy Testing
Research coming out of the Imperial College in London may provide an explanation for why corticosteroids are effective treatments for allergic inflammation. This in turn may point the way to new targets for treating allergic diseases in the future.
The roughly 50 million people in the U.S. affected by allergic diseases share an extreme reaction by the immune system to a normally harmless bit of material. The cascade starts when the immune system activates a specific cell type called a T helper-2 cell (Th2), causing it to make three cytokines which in turn are responsible for the inflammation associated with an allergic response. Corticosteroids are used to treat this inflammation, but it has not been well understood how they inhibit the Th2 cytokines.
After testing people with mild asthma, lead researcher Peter Barnes suggests in the study that the corticosteroids inhibit the expression of Th2 cytokines by preventing GATA-3, a key regulator of cytokine expression, from being properly phosphorylated or transported into the nucleus by a protein called importin-a.
The authors say that these findings suggest GATA-3 and importin-a could be useful targets for future therapies for allergic disease.
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