Genetic clue to causes of allergic asthma
Nature Immunology, pages 221-226, News and Views pages 190-191.
The worldwide prevalence and severity of allergic asthma has increased dramatically in recent decades. Therapeutic advances are not keeping pace, and consequently morbidity and mortality continue to rise. It is thought that allergic asthma arises as a result of inappropriate immunological responses to common environmental substances in genetically susceptible individuals.
In the September issue of Nature Immunology [Vol. 1, No. 3], using microarray state-of-the-art technology, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, have tracked down a link between allergic asthma and an immune molecule, C5.
In mice, interleukin 12 (IL-12) is able to prevent or reverse allergic asthma, and one of the roles of C5 is to activate certain immune cells to produce IL-12, thus providing a link between C5 and asthma. The research group demonstrated in mice that blocking of the C5 receptor resulted in no IL-12 production and the consequent induction of allergic asthma. This gives us useful targets in the fight against allergic asthma.
A News & Views on this paper was written by Dr. Peter Henson of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
Marsha Wills-Karp Johns
Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
Department of Pediatrics
1400 Jackson St., Rm. D508
Denver, CO 80206-2761
Tel: 303 398-1380
Fax: 303 398-1381
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza