How do pollen particles provoke allergic reactions? A new study in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine puts some of the blame on bioactive molecules that are released from pollen. These molecules bind to immune cells and cause them to launch a typical allergy-promoting immune response. Pollen from plants exposed to air pollutants produce more of these allergy-provoking compounds than do pollen from unpolluted areas, possibly explaining why allergies are more prevalent in places with high levels of car exhaust emissions.
Traidl-Hoffmann and colleagues showed that extracts from birch pollen and other common allergens block the production of a soluble protein by immune cells that normally inhibits allergic reactions. They went on to identify the compound in the pollen extracts that caused the inhibitory response and showed that it was similar to certain pro-inflammatory molecules produced in the body in response to injury or infection. The authors now plan to assess whether cells from allergy-prone people are more sensitive to the effects of the pollen-derived compound than those from non-allergic individuals. A better understanding of these molecules and how they work may eventually lead to new approaches to treating allergies.
Nickey Henry | EurekAlert!
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More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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