Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Of Mice and Peanuts: A new mouse model for peanut allergy

14.01.2009
Chicago researchers report the development of a new mouse model for food allergy that mimics symptoms generated during a human allergic reaction to peanuts.

The animal model provides a new research tool that will be invaluable in furthering the understanding of the causes of peanut and other food allergies and in finding new ways to treat and prevent their occurrence, according to experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funded the research.

Peanut allergy is of great public health interest because this food allergy is the one most often associated with life-threatening allergic reactions, resulting in up to 100 deaths in the United States each year.

The findings of the research team, led by Paul Bryce, Ph.D., of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, appear in the January issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The development of new animal models for food allergy was identified as a critical need by the 2006 NIH Expert Panel on Food Allergy Research.

"Food allergies affect the health and quality of life of many Americans, particularly young children," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Finding an animal model that mimics a severe human allergic reaction to peanuts will help us better understand peanut allergy and develop new and improved treatment and prevention strategies."

Allergic reactions to food can range from mild hives to vomiting to difficulty breathing to anaphylaxis, the most severe reaction. Anaphylaxis may result from a whole-body allergic reaction to the release of the chemical histamine, causing muscles to contract, blood vessels to dilate and fluid to leak from the bloodstream into the tissues. These effects can result in narrowing of the upper or lower airways, low blood pressure, shock or a combination of these symptoms, and also can lead to a loss of consciousness and even death.

The most significant obstacle to developing an animal model of food allergy is that animals are not normally allergic to food. Scientists must add a strong immune stimulant to foods to elicit a reaction in animals that resembles food allergy in humans. Because of this requirement, useful animal models have been developed only in the last few years, and such animal models have until now used cholera toxin as the immune stimulant.

Dr. Bryce's team took the novel approach of feeding mice a mixture of whole peanut extract (WPE) and a toxin from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, called staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) to simulate the human anaphylactic reaction to peanuts in mice.

"Persistent S. aureus colonization is commonly found on the skin of people with eczema and in the nasal cavities of people with sinusitis," says Dr. Bryce. "The history between S. aureus and allergic diseases led us to use staphylococcal toxins to stimulate food allergy in animals."

According to Dr. Bryce, the results using the SEB/WPE mixture were considerably better than those seen with previous animal models, which failed to mimic many features of food allergy. They showed that the SEB/WPE mixture stimulated severe symptoms in mice that closely resemble those found in human anaphylaxis, including swelling around the eyes and mouth, reduced movement and significant problems breathing. Additionally, mice given the SEB/WPE mixture had high blood levels of histamine, which indicates a severe allergic reaction.

The researchers also observed that the blood and tissues of mice in the SEB/WPE group had higher-than-normal numbers of eosinophils, which are white blood cells often associated with allergy-related inflammation. Future studies will be needed to determine if eosinophils play an important role in human food allergy.

These results, say Dr. Bryce, suggest that this animal model of food allergy will be useful for many types of future research studies.

Approximately 4 percent of Americans have food allergies. For reasons that are not well understood, the prevalence in children increased by 18 percent between 1997 and 2007. The most common causes of food allergies are milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.

Each year there are between 15,000 and 30,000 episodes of food-induced anaphylaxis, which are associated with 100 to 200 deaths in the United States.

Julie Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>