Nav: Home

Intestinal bacteria influence food allergies

September 07, 2016

Countless microorganisms live in the intestinal tract. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have been able to demonstrate that intestinal bacteria also play a role in determining the strength of anaphylactic reactions to food allergens. The scientists present their results at the annual convention of the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR), which is hosted by and at TUM this year.

The human microbiota -- the entirety of bacteria which live e.g. on the skin or in the intestinal tract -- has a complex influence on health. A team led by Prof. Tilo Biedermann, the director of the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at Rechts der Isar Hospital, examined the role microbiota plays in the digestive system in the case of food allergies.

The gut flora and the various elements of the immune system are closely interwoven and mutually influence each other. During its investigations, the team of researchers at TUM focused on a protein called NOD2. This receptor of the immune system is able to "recognize" intestinal bacteria -- or more precisely, the main component of their cell wall -- and initiate numerous complex processes. The scientists investigated the effects that occurred when this recognition receptor is absent.

A fundamentally changed immune reaction

Tilo Biedermann and his colleagues were able to demonstrate that when NOD2 was absent, the body's immune reaction changed fundamentally. Instead of cells such as regulatory T cells, which suppress an activation of the immune system, a greater number of what are called Th2 helper cells are formed.

These cells cause a larger number of the antibody immunoglobulin E (or IgE for short) to be produced. In persons suffering from food allergies, the IgE in the body has been "trained" for the corresponding allergens, and stimulates distinct cells to trigger an allergic reaction when it detects the allergen in the intestine, for example. The greater the amount of IgE, the stronger the allergic reaction.

Accordingly, the scientists observed particularly serious allergic reactions in mouse models when NOD2 was absent. The composition of the intestinal microbiota of these animals had also changed. Another aspect of the study demonstrates the true complexity of the interactions between microbiota and the immune system: When the composition of the intestinal bacteria was re-normalized, serious allergic reactions could be prevented even when NOD2 was absent.

Harmless bacteria as a new therapeutic approach

"This relationship between intestinal flora and the production of antibodies opens up new therapeutic approaches for patients whose microbiota is altered", says Tilo Biedermann. "For example, if it is possible to encourage harmless bacteria to colonize the intestines, this would also reduce the body's reaction to allergens."

So far, the findings have not yet been published. The scientists will be presenting them on Thursday, September 8 at the main plenary session of the 46th annual convention of the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR). 1200 researchers will be traveling to Munich to attend the annual convention. This year's host and organizer is TUM. The topic "Microbiomes and Allergies" is one of the focal points of the convention. Prior to that, on Wednesday, September 7, Dr. Thomas Volz, a dermatologist at TUM, will be heading a symposium on skin bacteria titled "You'll never walk alone".
-end-
Abstract:

T. Volz, F. Wölbing, F. Regler, S. Kaesler, T. Biedermann. „NOD2 Signalling critically influences sensitization to orally ingested allergens". Journal of Investigative Dermatology 136:9 (2016). S. 201.

Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Related Immune System Articles:

Immune system upgrade
Theoretically, our immune system could detect and kill cancer cells.
Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis
Filming how our immune system kill bacteria
To kill bacteria in the blood, our immune system relies on nanomachines that can open deadly holes in their targets.
Putting the break on our immune system's response
Researchers have discovered how a tiny molecule known as miR-132 acts as a 'handbrake' on our immune system -- helping us fight infection.
Decoding the human immune system
For the first time ever, researchers are comprehensively sequencing the human immune system, which is billions of times larger than the human genome.
Masterswitch discovered in body's immune system
Scientists have discovered a critical part of the body's immune system with potentially major implications for the treatment of some of the most devastating diseases affecting humans.
How a fungus can cripple the immune system
An international research team led by Professor Oliver Werz of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has now discovered how the fungus knocks out the immune defenses, enabling a potentially fatal fungal infection to develop.
How the immune system protects us against bowel cancer
Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have discovered a protective mechanism which is used by the body to protect intestinal stem cells from turning cancerous.
How herpesviruses shape the immune system
DZIF scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed an analytic method that can very precisely detect viral infections using immune responses.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Breaking Bongo
Deep fake videos have the potential to make it impossible to sort fact from fiction. And some have argued that this blackhole of doubt will eventually send truth itself into a death spiral. But a series of recent events in the small African nation of Gabon suggest it's already happening.  Today, we follow a ragtag group of freedom fighters as they troll Gabon's president - Ali Bongo - from afar. Using tweets, videos and the uncertainty they can carry, these insurgents test the limits of using truth to create political change and, confusingly, force us to ask: Can fake news be used for good? This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.