Which house dust mite proteins cause the allergy?
Many people suffer from an allergy to house dust, which in the long term poses the risk of developing asthma. The allergy is caused by dust mites or their excrement. So far it has not been clear which molecules trigger the immune system's reaction. Scientists at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have now been able to identify the dust mite molecules that are the primary targets of the immune system when children develop allergic rhinitis and asthma.
The house dust allergy is due to an excessive immune response, which occurs in contact with the feces of house dust mites. In addition to pollen allergy, it is one of the most common allergic diseases in Germany. The research team led by private lecturer Dr. Paolo Maria Matricardi from the Berlin Charité and Professor Rudolf Valenta from the Medical University of Vienna have now got to the bottom of the molecular origins of the disease. The scientists published their results in the journal "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology".
The scientists around Dr. Paolo Maria Matricardi, head of the Molecular Allergology working group at the Charité, and Prof. Rudolf Valenta from MedUni Vienna analyzed “the data and blood samples from 722 children living in Germany who have been participating in the Multicentre Allergy Study (MAS) since their birthday in 1990 Have regularly participated in surveys and investigations for 20 years, ”reports the Berlin Charité. Using nanotechnological methods, the researchers were able to demonstrate the role that house dust mite proteins play in the origins and development of the immune response from childhood through adolescence to young adults.
Antibodies against mite molecules
"The researchers discovered that antibodies to three dust mite molecules (...) could already be measured in the blood of preschool children, often before the disease became clinically apparent," said the Charité. The molecules with the designations "Der p 1", "Der p 2" and "Der p 23" are believed to play a key role in the development of house dust allergy. In the further course, a so-called "sensitization cascade" occurred in some children, which was gradually directed against other mite molecules and is referred to as "molecular spreading", reports the Charié.
Increased risk of asthma
According to the researchers, the risk of developing allergic rhinitis and a higher risk of asthma was found in children who produced antibodies against a large number of molecules. Children who had already produced the first antibodies at a very young age were also involved who also had one or both parents with hay fever, were more likely to have an allergy. Last but not least, healthy preschool children who already produced antibodies against the two molecules "Der p 1" or "Der p 23" have developed asthma more often in school age, according to the Charité.
New options for prevention and therapy?
“The house dust mite allergy develops like an avalanche in childhood. It starts early with only one or very few molecules and then continues to encompass an ever broader range of molecules, ”explains the first author, Dr. Daniela Posa the result of the study. The wider the spread of molecular sensitization, the higher the risk of developing asthma, Posa continued. According to the researchers, the current findings also open up new perspectives in the prevention and therapy of allergic rhinitis and asthma caused by dust mites. In addition, the development of the disease could possibly be predicted in the future before the onset of the first symptoms. (fp)