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A genetic defect may lead to allergies
A genetic defect that has previously only been associated with a connective tissue disease could possibly also trigger certain allergies. This is the conclusion reached by US scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. According to this, the genetic disorder would set in motion a kind of chain reaction to substances of everyday life.
Previously known genetic defect as the cause of the "Loeys-Dietz syndrome"
US researchers at the private Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore have apparently made great strides in finding the causes of allergies. As part of a research project with children and young adults, the researchers identified a genetic defect that could possibly play a central role in the development of many allergies. Particularly interesting: As the researchers write in the journal "Science Translational Medicine", this genetic defect was already known - but so far only as a cause for a congenital disease of the connective tissue, the so-called "Loeys-Dietz Syndrome" (LDS).
Scientists examine 58 young LDS patients
According to the specialist article, the scientists examined 58 patients between the ages of seven and 20 years for their study, all of whom had Loeys-Dietz syndrome. The connective tissue disease is caused by a genetic defect in the TGF-beta receptor I or II, a molecule that plays an important role in the development of connective tissue and also in the immune system.
Patients with LDS "highly susceptible to allergic diseases"
In addition, according to the immunologist Pamela Frischmeyer-Guerrerio from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the gene defect in the TGF-beta molecule could also be the cause of a number of other physical reactions that could ultimately lead to further illnesses: "We show that patients with Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS), an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the genes of the TGF receptor subunits TGFBR1 and TGFBR2, is highly susceptible to allergic diseases such as asthma, food allergies, eczema, allergic rhinitis and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases, ”says the scientist in" Science Translational Medicine ".
Genetic defect may inhibit the immune cells
Allergies have always been a relatively complicated topic in medicine, because they are considered the product of a complex interplay of environmental influences and genes. In the course of the latest study, the US researchers came to the conclusion that incorrect signals from the TGF-beta molecule could be the cause of an elementary process in the development of allergies - because this genetic defect could possibly no longer undisturbed the immune cells react to food and other allergy-causing substances in the environment, thereby clearing the way for the development of allergies.
A genetic defect appears to unlock a chain reaction
Nevertheless, according to the cardiologist Harry Dietz, a differentiation has to be made here, because "Disorders in the TGF-beta signals do not simply cause the immune cells to behave incorrectly", instead it rather appears that the genetic defect "independently controls the actual chain reaction unlocked, which may lead to allergic diseases ". According to the researchers, this finding could be of great medical benefit because "this paradigm could be relevant for non-syndromic forms of allergic diseases and emphasize the potential therapeutic benefits of strategies that inhibit the signaling of the TGF molecule," said the scientists further. (No)
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Photo credit: S. Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de