Scientists discover what triggers an allergic reaction to cats
NewsThursday 25 July 2013
Scientists from the University of Cambridge have made a huge breakthrough in discovering what the trigger is for an allergic reaction to cats which could potential enable treaments to be developed to prevent a reaction from happening.
The study was published in the Journal of Immunology and it takes a close look of the immune system’s extreme reaction to cats allergens and discovered the most severe reactions are because of the Fel d 1 protein found in cat’s skin known as cat dander. The cat allergens activie a pathway in the body when in the presence of a common environmental bacterial toxin known as LPS.
This has huge potential for new treatments that could realistically be developed to block this pathway and thus inhibit allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions happen when your immune system overreacts to a perceived danger. Instead of identifying and responding to a harmful viruses, it misidentifies it as dangerous (which it is not) and mounts an immune response which is sneezing, coughing and wheezing.
The study will also hopefully provide hope for those who suffer from allergic reactions to dogs too.
Dr Claire Bryant who helped lead the team said that “How cat dander causes such a severe allergic reaction in some people has long been a mystery. Not only did we find out that LPS exacerbates the immune response’s reaction to cat dander, we identified the part of immune system that recognises it, the receptor TLR4.”
"We are hopeful that our research will lead to new and improved treatments for cat and possibly dog allergy sufferers."