(RxWiki News) A tiny molecule goes a long way to regulating allergic disease reaction. A new study shows how a particular microRNA could be the target of future allergic disease treatments.
The microRNA, miR-375, regulates the allergic response of the protein interleukin 13 (IL-13). IL-13 plays a role in allergic diseases by regulating inflammation. Low levels of miR-375 were associated with the presence of asthma and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), which is a food allergy that affects the esophagus. Future treatments could target miR-375 to reduce IL-13 activity.
"Ask your doctor about new treatments for allergic diseases."
The study was led by Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Center for Eosinophilic Disorders Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Researchers exposed different human tissues to IL-13 to analyze microRNA expression. High levels of IL-13 are associated with allergic diseases like EoE, and understanding what regulates IL-13 could lead to new treatments.
MicroRNA, like miR-375, regulate and determine if messenger RNA gets converted into protein. If miR-375 is not behaving properly that could lead to an increase in the amount of proteins, such as IL-13. IL-13 is produced by white blood cells called T helper cells. Asthma and EoE are caused by inflammation and the body over-reacting to a specific antigen.
When researchers stimulated the different tissue cells with IL-13, it led to a decrease in expression of miR-375. This was confirmed when researchers examined miR-375 levels in EoE patients. EoE is caused by a food allergy which increases the number of white blood cells in the esophagus causing inflammation. EoE sufferers have difficulty swallowing, vomiting and weight loss.
Low expression of miR-375 was found when EoE was active. MiR-375 levels returned to normal when the disease went into remission.
Future studies can target miR-375 as a way to control inflammation caused by IL-13 expression. For allergic diseases that are difficult to treat, like EoE and asthma, microRNA may lead to the development of new treatments.
The study was funded by National Institutes of Health, the Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease, the Food Allergy Initiative and the Buckeye Foundation.
This study was published in the March edition of Mucosal Immunology.