Allergy Research

Allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder characterized by an exaggerated immunologic response to an otherwise innocuous agent, called an allergen. Allergies can be caused by both host (race, gender, hereditary) and environmental factors (pollution, diet, infection).

Research Areas
Literature

The increase in allergic diseases industrialized countries over the past decades has been attributed to a decline in infections during childhood, also known as the hygiene hypothesis.

Classification of the Allergic Response

The immunological allergic response is often thought of in terms of the Gell-Coombs classification which states that there are four main types of hypersensitivity.

  • IgE mediated hypersensitivity, seen in food allergy and asthma.
  • Antibody mediated hypersensitivity, seen in transfusion reactions.
  • Immune complex mediated hypersensitivity, seen in arthritis.
  • T-cell mediated (delayed hypersensitivity), seen in dermatitis.

The most common allergic response is Type I. IgE antibodies are produced in response to an allergen in the sensitization phase and antigens are presented to T-helper (Th2) cells. Th2 cell produce cytokines such as IL-3, IL-4 and IL-5 which promote development and survival of other immune cells such as B cells and eosinophils. IgE antibodies then attach to mast cells and basophils and upon a secondary exposure to allergen, antigen-antibody binding will occur at these sites. Crosslinking of IgE on mast cells leads to their degranulation and the release of mediators responsible for the allergic reaction. These mediators increase mucus secretion and promote vascular permeability and smooth muscle contraction. Eosinophils, neutrophils and monocytes are recruited in the late phase and release additional mediators to sustain the allergic response.

Literature for Allergy Research

Histamine Receptors

Histamine Receptors Scientific Review

Written by Iwan de Esch and Rob Leurs, this review provides a synopsis of the different histamine receptor subtypes and the ligands that act upon them; compounds available from Tocris are listed.

Asthma

Asthma Poster

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, affecting over 300 million people. This poster highlights key pathways and new therapies used to treat the condition, including those currently in clinical development.