Jump to content

Getting rid of mast cells = cure for allergies?


Recommended Posts

Hi:

 

I've heard that mast cells are a major factor in allergens causing allergies. Does this mean that I will be allergy-free if I remove all the mast cells from my body -- and prevent new mast cells from forming? If it were possible to do this, what would be the disadvantages?

 

 

Thanks,

 

Green Xenon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we should require everyone who posts here to take 15 seconds and at the very least, go skim the wiki article on whatever they're posting about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mast_cell

 

Second sentence: "Although best known for their role in allergy and anaphylaxis, mast cells play an important protective role as well, being intimately involved in wound healing and defense against pathogens"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gangrene? Probably not: mast cells (and histamines) are thought to be mainly employed against multicellular invaders, like flukes and worms. Still, probably not a good idea to ablate the entire mast cell population.

 

A current theory holds that allergy is the result of the immune system not getting enough stimulation by foreign antigens. In other words, that we live in a world that is "too clean." Instead of being exposed to a wide variety of natural (potential) parasites, you grow up exposed only to a house full of dust (with lots of dust mite antigens)...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually I think that I read somewhere that mast cells may actually play a role against bacteria by modulating the immune response.

 

Edit: found something: Malaviya, Immunological reviews [0105-2896] yr:2001 vol:179 pg:16

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A current theory holds that allergy is the result of the immune system not getting enough stimulation by foreign antigens. In other words, that we live in a world that is "too clean." Instead of being exposed to a wide variety of natural (potential) parasites, you grow up exposed only to a house full of dust (with lots of dust mite antigens)...

 

just to note, this may not always be the case. during my childhood i was likely exposed to a whole lot of germs and stuff yet i have developed allergies. everything from eating a few worms to get a bar of chocolate to one rather disgusting event where i was splattered with the rotting sheep brains.

 

still managed to develop a number of allergies. and i've been allergic to penicillin since infancy as apparently i nearly died from that one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just to note, this may not always be the case. during my childhood i was likely exposed to a whole lot of germs and stuff yet i have developed allergies. everything from eating a few worms to get a bar of chocolate to one rather disgusting event where i was splattered with the rotting sheep brains.

 

still managed to develop a number of allergies. and i've been allergic to penicillin since infancy as apparently i nearly died from that one.

 

I think the current thought on this idea is that there's a limited time frame (probably up to infancy years) when the immune system actively develops tolerance to both self antigens (so we don't become allergic to our own cells) and nonself antigens (eg. potential allergens). After that, eating worms and cat fur probably won't help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gangrene? Probably not: mast cells (and histamines) are thought to be mainly employed against multicellular invaders, like flukes and worms. Still, probably not a good idea to ablate the entire mast cell population.

 

A current theory holds that allergy is the result of the immune system not getting enough stimulation by foreign antigens. In other words, that we live in a world that is "too clean." Instead of being exposed to a wide variety of natural (potential) parasites, you grow up exposed only to a house full of dust (with lots of dust mite antigens)...

 

Mast cells are part of the innate immune system which causes inflammation and pain in response to a foreign body. The adaptive immune system specifically attacks foreigners that it "remembers" having previously infected.

 

I wonder if it is possible for the adaptive immune system to fight off infections without the innate immune system causing such a painful response to the disease.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So should I dip my future kids in vats of antigens and bacterial colonies in order to prevent them from getting sick later on?

 

You won't need to: they'll take care of it on their own ;)

 

Seriously, I think the idea is that their natural instinct to play in the dirt, and put everything in their mouth, probably helps. Dirt (in the sense of soil) is an extremely complicated microbial environment, with many species of bacteria, fungi, and other stuff in every cm3. IIRC, having a pet is supposed to help too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So should I dip my future kids in vats of antigens and bacterial colonies in order to prevent them from getting sick later on?

 

 

Speaking of which, I'm waiting for the day they make antigens for daisy pollen -- something my nose is painfully allergic to. It feels like some little monster my outer nostril, tickling it -- very annoying!


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
You won't need to: they'll take care of it on their own ;)

 

Seriously, I think the idea is that their natural instinct to play in the dirt, and put everything in their mouth, probably helps. Dirt (in the sense of soil) is an extremely complicated microbial environment, with many species of bacteria, fungi, and other stuff in every cm3. IIRC, having a pet is supposed to help too.

 

 

Yeah. Gradual exposure to any type of bug the body can fight, is a good idea -- just steer clear of prions [which cause mad-cow] and HIV.

 

HIV disables the immune system before any response can be mounted.

 

Prions don't cause an immune response in the 1st place, so these molecule-sized monsters simply take advantage and attack the brains of the organisms they infect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Hi! This is my first post:

Histamine released from mast cells, among other things is a key player in allergy... and also in normal and necessary physiological processes, so removing all your mast cells is completely absurd. IgE class antibodies produced by B lymphocytes sensitized for the allergen binds to mast cells, and makes them degranulate when the allergen binds to the antibody (stopping this high affinity useless IgE from being produced should be more usefull in the same logic, but hey, don't go all about removing B and Th cells XD). So, leave mast cells alone!!

 

About the Hygiene Hypothesis: Yes, it seems that dirt, squalor, mud and parasitic infections are protective against allergy (noticed how I said this, in the strict epidemiologic sense, because so far it is an observation, the causal mechanisms haven't been worked out), however balance is required. Don't throw your kind into the dirt for the sake of allergen tollerance, but don't lock him into a bubble either (unless he has some type of immunodeficiency loool, nevermind).

 

But I must disagree with this sentence, particularly in the way it was written:

"Yeah. Gradual exposure to any type of bug the body can fight, is a good idea -- just steer clear of prions [which cause mad-cow] and HIV."

As you know, we have Immunological memory, and that memory too has a size, just as your hard-drive (immune senescence, a complex and poorly understood phenomenon (like regular ageing, in fact this is part of ageing) which reduces the effectiveness of vaccines and the adaptation immune response, among other things. Every infection you fight, leaves it's mark on memory, on the existing "repertoire" of lymphocyte clones and etc... That's why we use vaccines, but the point is to create memory for those which can pose a real threat. Ah, and don't forget, many infections are associated to incidence of some auto-immune diseases, and seem to be responsible for the break in tolerance to self-antigens (see molecular mimicry, among other things)!

 

Just a final note...

Someone wrote that "I think the current thought on this idea is that there's a limited time frame (probably up to infancy years) when the immune system actively develops tolerance to both self antigens (so we don't become allergic to our own cells) and nonself antigens (eg. potential allergens)."

 

The first half of the sentence is completely wrong! Tolerance can be divided in Central and Peripheral Tolerance. Central tolerance, refers to the elimination or inactivation of lymphocytes in their development process, and is happening everyday (see the role of Thymus and development of T cells). Everyday you create lymphocytes, so if this time interval was restricted to infancy, auto-immune diseases would be much more common. Peripheral tolerance is, like the name implies, related to mechanisms who mantain tolerance outside the sites of development of lymphocytes (see Treg cells, Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells, among others). So, tolerance to allergens is related to peripheral tolerance (I'm assuming everyone knows how T-cell and B-cell development occurs). So, I kind of agree with the second part, exposure to allergen in childhood appears to favour tolerance to allergens. But remember, Allergy and auto-immunity are different situations!!

Edited by Einherjar
Wall of text :-S, just separating the paragraphs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.