Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers identify new regulator in allergic diseases

Researchers have taken a critical step in understanding how allergic reactions occur after identifying a genetic signature for regulation of a key immune hormone, interleukin (IL-13).

Scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center say the finding opens the potential for new molecular targets to treat allergic disease. They report on March 28 in Mucosal Immunology that a particular microRNA, miR-375, is regulated by IL-13, and in turns regulates how IL-13 induces pro-allergic changes, particularly in epithelial cells in the lung and esophagus.

The data support a role for miR-375 in asthma and in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a severe, often painful food allergy that renders children unable to eat a wide variety of foods. EoE can also cause weight loss, vomiting, heartburn and swallowing difficulties.

"The identification of a microRNA that regulates IL-13-induced changes and inflammatory pathways is a significant advancement for the understanding and future treatment of allergic disease," says Marc E. Rothenberg, MD, senior investigator on the study and director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Center for Eosinophilic Disorders at Cincinnati Children's. "MiR-375 is proof of principle that microRNAs are involved in fine-tuning IL-13-mediated responses, which opens up a set of new possibilities for novel therapeutic targets for treatment of allergic disease."

IL-13 induces changes in epithelial gene and protein expression that are important in the onset of many allergic diseases, including EoE. Notably, expression of miR-375 was consistently downregulated after IL-13 stimulated human esophageal squamous and bronchial epithelial cells. Viral overexpression of miR-375 in epithelial cell cultures markedly modified the IL-13-associated immunoinflammatory pathways.

MicroRNAs are short segments of RNA that can regulate whether genetic messengers (mRNAs) are degraded or translated into protein.

In the current study, investigators stimulated esophageal and bronchial human epithelial cells with IL-13 and analyzed for differential microRNA expression. Decreases in miR-375 were observed in the human cells and also in an IL-13 transgenic mouse model. The researchers subsequently assessed miR-375 in patients with EoE, a human allergic disease characterized by IL-13 overproduction, and in healthy individuals.

Interestingly, the researchers found that decreased expression of miR-375 correlates significantly with disease activity, the degree of allergic inflammation and that miR-375 expression normalizes with disease remission. While this suggests miR-375's potential use as a disease activity biomarker for certain allergic diseases, changes in IL-13-mediated inflammatory pathways with viral overexpression of miR-375 in epithelial cell cultures also hint at its therapeutic potential.

Allergic diseases have been on the rise over the past 20 years, with approximately one of every 13 children having food allergies and over 2.5 million children suffering from allergic asthma. Only recently recognized as a distinct condition, the incidence of EoE has also been increasing. Rothenberg and his laboratory team pioneered research showing EoE's reported incidence is estimated to be at least one in 1,000 people. Its hallmark is swelling and inflammation in the esophagus, accompanied by high levels of immune cells called eosinophils.

EoE can affect people of any age, but is more common among young men who have a history of other allergic diseases, such as asthma and eczema. EoE is often first discovered in children with feeding difficulties and failure to thrive, but it is often misunderstood and not well known, delaying proper diagnosis and treatment.

Funding support for the study came from the National Institutes of Health, the Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease (CURED), the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), and the Buckeye Foundation.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of eight children's hospitals named to the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report's 2010-11 Best Children's Hospitals. It is ranked #1 for digestive disorders and highly ranked for its expertise in pulmonology, cancer, neonatology, heart and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for quality and transformation work by Leapfrog, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and by hospitals and health organizations it works with globally. Additional information can be found at

Follow Us on Facebook

The Rothenberg Lab

The Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Learn More About Our Research the Rothenberg Lab

Nick Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>