Some people have allergic reactions to certain substances that can be so pronounced that they affect the entire body. Such a reaction - called anaphylaxis - can be so severe that it becomes life-threatening. An injection of adrenalin is currently the only effective remedy known for this condition. But adrenalin often has no, or insufficient, effect on the cardiovascular collapse that is a consequence of the allergic shock.
Anaphylaxis occurs fairly frequently and strikes up to 15% of the population. It can be caused by a bee sting, by medications, by contact with latex, or by certain foods such as peanuts. Because more and more people are being confronted with anaphylactic shock, and given the limitations of the current treatment methods, scientists are searching for better remedies.
Several leading actors
Scientists are aware of the possible role of PAF (Platelet Activating Factor) in blood pressure and heart disorders that result from shock like anaphylactic shock. They also know that extreme amounts of nitric oxide (NO) can lie at the basis of shock. The so-called NOS enzymes are responsible for the production of NO in the body. However, the role of NO in producing anaphylactic shock, or how shock is induced by PAF, has always been unclear. So, Anje Cauwels and her colleagues, under the leadership of Peter Brouckaert, have been focusing their attention on anaphylaxis to try to shed more light on these matters.
The mechanism exposed
The Ghent researchers used mice to study PAF and anaphylactic shock. To their great surprise, the hyper-acute PAF-induced shock was completely dependent on NO. Furthermore, the production of NO was not regulated by iNOS (the expected activator) but by the constitutive eNOS, which is activated via the PI3K pathway. Up to now, scientists have thought that this pathway only plays a role in normal blood pressure regulation, and not in shock.
The research team then set out to verify whether inhibition of the several leading actors could prevent anaphylactic shock. And indeed, from their research it turns out that inhibition of eNOS or PI3K provides total protection.
New perspectives for future therapies
The research of Cauwels and Brouckaert has yielded an unexpected new finding: namely, that eNOS-derived NO plays a key role in anaphylactic shock. This discovery opens new perspectives for treatment - it’s now clear that eNOS and PI3K are prime targets for new drugs against anaphylaxis.
Joke Comijn | alfa
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy