A UK scientist has discovered the route and type of transport taken by peanut proteins through the gut to the immune system. This route favours an immune response, which helps explain why peanuts are one of the most allergenic foods.
Immunofluorescent staining to show a protein body (red) within an M-cell (green).
Dr Claudio Nicoletti from the Institute of Food Research, said: “Food allergy is an immune system over-reaction to a food protein. The cause of this over-reaction has remained a mystery. Our aim was to identify the route that proteins from digested peanuts take to the lymphoid tissue of the gut where immune responses start”.
Firstly, using a digestion model, the research team found that digestion through the stomach and small intestine produces large amounts of soluble protein and intact protein bodies – large particle-like structures. Secondly, by labelling them with gold, Dr Nicoletti found that peanut proteins are delivered at high speed through the gut via M-cells.
Zoe Dunford | alfa
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