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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 1070
Location: Kingston
A child doesn't just suddenly become allergic to peanuts," says Prof Le Gros. "Their immune system has to have seen the peanuts beforehand, and become sensitised to them. It is the resulting runaway immune response that is responsible for the symptoms of food allergy such as swelling, skin irritations and breathing difficulties."

"Parents of allergic children will often say however that their child has never eaten peanuts, so we wanted to know how and why these children go on to develop peanut allergies."

To answer this question Prof Le Gros and senior allergy researcher Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom developed unique laboratory food allergy models to investigate whether other routes in the body, such as skin contact, were relevant for sensitising the immune system to peanuts.

Previous clinical data suggest that repeated exposure of the skin to peanuts can lead to the development of peanut specific allergic immune responses," says Prof Le Gros. "Our data show how this could be happening at the cellular level and highlight the importance of concomitant Staph infections in amplifying this process in individuals with eczema."

"Collectively these studies support the view that under some circumstances, having a child's skin come into contact with certain foods such as peanuts is all that is required for them to develop an allergic immune response - something that needs to be taken into consideration when developing treatments for food allergy sufferers." ... y/5/102422


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