Johns Hopkins researchers have found the sequence of molecular events by which dust mites trigger asthma and allergic rhinitis, which could lead to better treatments.
The researchers, whose study was published online June 22 in Nature Immunology, found that allergy-triggering molecules from dust mites can interact with an immune protein called SAA1, which is better known as a sentinel against bacteria and other infectious agents. The researchers showed step-by-step how this interaction between mite-molecules and SAA1 triggers an allergic-type immune response in mice.
The findings reveal what may be a significant new pathway by which allergic and inflammatory disorders arise. They also suggest that blocking the pathway could potentially work as a preventive or treatment strategy against asthma and other allergic reactions.
“We think that the signaling interactions that occur immediately downstream of the mite-proteins’ activation of SAA1 may be good targets for future drugs,” says study senior author Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD, the Anna M. Baetjer Professor of Environmental Health and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Bloomberg School.