Inhibition of mast cell survival as a novel therapy for allergic diseases

December 03, 2001

Allergic diseases, e.g. hay fever, are caused by reactive mast cells. Mast cells are inflammatory cells distributed throughout the body. They are long-lived and survive the allergic reaction thereby prolonging the symptoms.

New results from a group of scientists at the University of Uppsala give hope for a novel therapy to treat allergies. The group, led by Gunnar Nilsson, has identified a gene that regulates mast cell survival upon allergic activation. By inhibition of this gene, A1, the allergic mast cells are unable to survive the activation. Instead they die thereby decreasing the number of mast cells in the tissue. These findings can form the basis of a novel therapy for allergic diseases directly targeting the cell that causes the allergic symptoms, the mast cells.
The results are published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, December 3rd. The title of the article is: "Essential role of the prosurvival bcl-2 homologue A1 in mast cell survival after allergic activation". Authors: Xiang, A. Ahmed, C. Möller, K.I. Nakayama, S. Hatakeyama, and G. Nilsson.

For further information please contact Associate professor Gunnar Nilsson, Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. Tel +46 18 611 3876, or +46 70 640 2093, e-mail:

Uppsala University

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