Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What protects farm children from hay fever: The protective substance slumbers in cowshed dust

19.07.2010
RUB researchers publish their findings in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Researchers from Bochum have isolated the substance in cowshed dust that possibly protects farm children from developing allergies and allergic asthma, namely the plant sugar molecule arabinogalactan. If high concentrations thereof are inhaled during the first year of life it inhibits the immune system from excessive defense reactions.

There are large quantities of this molecule in forage crops such as the Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis). The researchers from Bochum, Munich and Borstel, working the under the auspices of Dr. Marcus Peters (Department of Experimental Pneumology at the RUB, Prof. Dr. Albrecht Bufe), were able to demonstrate experimentally that the molecule affects immune system cells. They have reported their findings in the current edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The needle in the haystack

It has long been know that children who grow up on farms are less prone to allergies and allergic asthma. However, just what it is that protects them remained a riddle for a long time. Dr. Marcus Peters stated that finding the protective substance was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. He could make use of stable dust collected from diverse farms in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, an analysis of which disclosed that it is primarily comprised of plant substances. Over ten percent thereof is arabinogalactan, a large sugar molecule, thus it was classified as “suspicious.”

Prevent excessive alertness of the immune system

The researchers thus tested the reaction of the immune system of mice to potential allergens if arabinogalactan molecules are present. Dr. Peters stated that they found that the dendritic cells, which introduce damaging invaders to the immune cells and cause them to react, change their behaviour if arabinogalactan is present. They then produce a specific transmitter that suppresses the immune reaction. It remains to be clarified which receptors of the dendritic cells are responsible for this mechanism. Sugar receptors are generally important for the immune system to help it to identify foreign particles. Dr. Peters explained that this suppression of the immune system was not new to them. Some bacteria also make targeted use of this mechanism to reduce the immunoreaction of the host. Arabinogalactan does however only prevent the excessive alertness of the immune system – the resistance to pathogenic agents continues to function normally.

It depends on the dose

The researchers were not surprised that a grass component - of all things - protects children against hay fever. Dr. Marcus Peters stated that it is all a question of the concentration. Low concentrations of Meadow Foxtail pollen can lead to allergies, whereas high doses in the very early stages of life can also prevent them. After all, hyposensitization is also based on the principle of increasing the dose. The scientists now plan to investigate whether arabinogalactan can be used as prophylaxis or whether it is also suitable for the treatment of allergies and allergic asthma. It is conceivable that arabinogalactan could be used as spray or nose drops because it is highly water-soluble.

Title

Marcus Peters, Marion Kauth, Olaf Scherner, Kirsten Gehlhar, Imke Steffen, Pia Wentker, Erika von Mutius, Otto Holst, Albrecht Bufe: Arabinogalactan isolated from cowshed dust extract protects mice from allergic airway inflammation and sensitization. In: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.05.011

Further Information

Dr. Marcus Peters, Experimental Pneumology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bergmannsheil – Klinische Forschung XU19, Bürkle-de-la-Camp Platz 1, 44789 Bochum, Tel. 0234/302-4690, Fax: 0234/302-4682, E-Mail: marcus.peters@rub.de

Editor: Meike Drießen

Dr. Josef König | idw
Further information:
http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>