Intestinal Inflammation Caused by Food Allergies
Allergologists at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut are researching the immunological processes involved in the development of allergic enteritis and are thus creating the basis for a possible therapy.
Food allergies can cause intestinal inflammation. These gastrointestinal forms of food allergies include allergic enteritis (AE) and colitis. This most often affects children with an allergy to cow's milk or soya, but also adults with allergies to foods such as eggs and wheat.
Little is yet known about the pathological processes that lead to allergic enteritis. The only existing treatment options are avoiding the allergen and carrying an emergency kit. With certain food allergies, specific immunotherapy with increasing doses of the allergen is now being trialled.
The research group led by Prof. Stefan Vieths, Vice President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, has established a mouse model with chicken egg protein-induced allergic enteritis in order to gain a better understanding of the immunological processes involved in the development of the disorder. A specific group of white blood cells – eosinophil granulocytes – are found in the inflamed tissues and are therapeutic target structures. The scientists investigated the question of which chemokine receptors and ligands are involved in directing chemokines and thus eosinophil granulocytes to the location of the inflammatory changes. As signalling proteins, chemokines trigger migrations in the cells.
Gene analysis showed that gene expression and thus the activity of chemokine receptor 8 (CCR8) and its binding protein CCL1 (chemokine ligand 1) are upregulated in the inflammatory intestinal tissue of AE mice. At the same time, the number of eosinophil granulocytes was increased. Studies with knockout mice in which the gene for CCR8 had been inactivated also indicate that CCR8 is involved in the accumulation of eosinophil granulocytes and the development of clinical symptoms. However, there are indications that inactivating CCR8 is not a sufficient strategy for suppressing allergic enteritis – other inflammatory cells, neutrophil granulocytes, are upregulated.
We were able to show that CCR8 is involved in the inflammatory process of allergic enteritis – but its inhibition may not be a sufficient therapeutic strategy.Prof. Stefan Vieths , Vice President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
DAAD internship Dr Frank Blanco-Pérez
Blanco-Pérez F, Kato Y, Gonzalez-Menendez I, Laiño J, Ohbayashi M, Burggraf M, Krause M, Kirberg J, Iwakura Y, Martella M, Quintanilla-Martinez L, Shibata N, Vieths S, Scheurer S, Toda M (2019): CCR8 leads to eosinophil migration and regulates neutrophil migration in murine allergic enteritis.
Sci Rep 9: 9608.
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