Turning Off An Overly Aggressive Immune System

cytokinesPeople who suffer from asthma and allergies often ask, “Why me?” Researchers may now have the answer to that question.

Research centered on mast cells, a type of immune cell. When there are too many mast cells, the immune system reacts in an overly aggressive way, causing allergies and asthma.

By studying cells from mice, researchers have determined that there are certain cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) which begin the immune response, and which then end the immune response, keeping the immune response from being overly aggressive.

When these cytokines do not function properly, the mast cells continue to grow in number, leading to an overly aggressive immune response.

In the mice studied, the mice with allergies did not have proper amounts of these cytokines in their bone marrow to turn off their immune response, and showed an excessive number of mast cells.

The importance of this research is that it provides a new understanding of how allergies and asthma begin in the body.

Knowing how these illnesses begin will give researchers the opportunity to develop medications which treat the underlying cause of the illnesses, rather than merely managing the aller and asthma symptoms and sequela.



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