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
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences
17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering