Scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich have found that a molecule called Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is absent during allergic responses. The researchers suggest that allergic reactions could be brought under control by delivering an allergen in the presence of IL-12.
In previous research, this team found that dendritic cells are important in helping the immune system decide how to respond to foreign molecules. In the latest study, they compared the activity of dendritic cells in the gut and in the spleen of allergic and allergy-resistant mice. They discovered that dendritic cells stopped producing IL-12 in the gut of susceptible mice.
This research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Siena and is available online through the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.