Scientists have found the cause of allergies: it’s not wool and not the pollen

Allergic reactions associated with inappropriate immune response of the body to normally benign substances (pollen, mold spores, certain foods). Guilty representatives of the group of T-cells, according to the website

Explain that T cells (or T lymphocytes) are divided into T-killers and T-helpers. The first priority is the destruction of body cells, either infected with viruses or other intracellular pathogenic agents or those that are damaged or function incorrectly (e.g., tumor).

Meanwhile, T-helper cells regulate the response of both innate and acquired immunity and determines the type of response that the body has on specific foreign material. These cells do not show cytotoxicity (can’t harm the cells) and do not participate in the destruction of infected cells or pathogens directly. Instead, they control the immune response by directing other cells to carry out the necessary tasks.


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T-helper cells was found guilty in the occurrence of allergic reactions in humans. In the course of its work, the biologist Eric Wamble and immunologist William Kwok used the blood samples of patients who are allergic to alder pollen.

Explain that T-helper cells recognize the allergen, due to specific receptors – protein complexes. In addition to the “host” receptor T-helper cells also have the marker proteins.

To mark in blood samples of patients immune cells reacting to the pollen of alder, the team added fluorescent proteins, known as MHC II tetramers. Due to this, the researchers found that one group of T-helper cells had more copies of the two marker proteins and fewer copies of the other four. Although none of the proteins had not been “exclusive” for the cells, their combination provided the signature, which the researchers dubbed the cells of type TH2A.

When repeat tests with participation of patients who have had allergies to a variety of pathogens (including pollen and house dust), their blood samples were identified the same cells. However, they were absent in the blood of people not suffering from allergies. Thus, it has become clear that cells of the type TH2A are responsible for the appearance of allergic reactions in people.

The authors of a study published in Science Translational Medicine, are confident that the findings will help to develop new ways of dealing with allergies.

In particular, if to determine what molecular signals turn T-cells into cells of the type TH2A, it will be possible to prevent their occurrence. It is also planned the creation of special blood tests that will indicate the presence of “biomarkers of Allergy” (TH2A cells) in the blood of people.