Mighty Molecule Reduces Dust Mite Allergy

DC sign reduces the immune system response to dust mite irritant

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(RxWiki News) Dust mites are a common nuisance for many allergy sufferers. That may be a thing of the past as scientists have found a molecule to combat dust mite allergy.

A new molecule that was isolated by researchers could become a new way to treat dust mite allergies. The molecule, DC-SIGN, plays a role in how the body responds to the dust mite allergen. By targeting DC-SIGN, scientists were able to reduce the allergic response to dust mites.

"Ask you allergist about ways to reduce dust mite exposure."

The research that isolated DC-SIGN was led by Dr. Amir Ghaem-Maghami and Professor Farouk Shakib from the University of Nottingham's School of Molecular Medical Sciences. The researchers discovered that DC-SIGN binds to the protein that causes dust mite sensitivity in humans.

DC-SIGN would bind to the protein and reduced the immune system response towards the irritant.

DC-SIGN is found on the surface of white blood cells that target allergic reactions to dust mites. DC-SIGN not only binds to the dust mite protein, Der p 1, but it also binds to the protein that causes an allergic reaction to dog dander, Can f 1. Scientists can use DC-SIGN and develop new treatments from this molecule.

Dust mite allergies are a common irritant for asthma sufferers. According to researchers, up to 80 percent of all asthma sufferers are allergic to dust mites.

Dust mites are also a major risk factor in the development of asthma in children.

Sensitivity to dust mites stem from the droppings of dust mites. When people clean, sweep or vacuum, the particles become airborne and when an allergic individual inhales the particles, that's what causes the reaction.

The number of individuals with asthma has been on the rise despite improvements in treatment, education and mortality rates notes the researchers. By finding the DC-SIGN molecule, researchers can develop a treatment that can reduce the body's response to the irritant which would lead to reduced symptoms.

Allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes or asthma, occur when the body responds to an irritant, such as dust mites, by releasing the IgE antibody. The IgE antibody causes the body to release more histamine than necessary, thus causing the allergic symptoms.

Future studies can determine how effective DC-SIGN is in reducing allergic reactions to dust mites and dogs. More studies would be needed to make DC-SIGN as a viable treatment for asthma and allergy sufferers.  

No funding information was provided. No author conflicts were reported.

This study was published in the February edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Last Updated:
February 25, 2013