Mouse Peanut Allergies

2009/02/20
By Student
mouse

Photo by Cesar S

by Hope

I hope this interesting, cute picture got your attention. A new mouse model for food allergies that mimics symptoms humans have to peanuts. This priceless information will further the understanding of the causes of peanut allergies and other allergies. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) says this animal model will be invaluable in learning the cures to these diseases.

Peanut allergies is a great public health interest because of so many deaths caused by it. There are approximately 100 deaths every year in the United States because of these life threatening reactions.

This research team was lead by Paul Bryce. The obstacle that was interesting is that animals are not normally allergic to food. Scientists have to put a strong immune stimulant in their foods. This extracts the reaction in animals to make it correspond with human allergies.

For some reason, allergies for children have enhanced eighteen percent since 1997 to 2007. Four percent of Americans have food allergies. The most common causes of food allergies are milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.

hope

If mice have peanut allergies do you think they could also have allergies to milk or eggs? Why or why not? What do you think is the reason for children having more allergies since 1997?

7 Responses to “Mouse Peanut Allergies”

  1. Brianna Says:Great Post Hope! This was very interesting.I think if mice are allergic to peanuts with a stimulant, they can also be allergic to milk and eggs.According to this post ;(http://www.healthscout.com/news/1/611098/main.html)As well as the increase of children allergies, there was an increase in children who cannot get over the allergies. “We may be dealing with a different disease process than we did 20 years ago. Why this is happening we just don’t know,” said Dr. Robert Wood.Personally, I think it is just the exposure to more items and food, and what factories use to produce them.
  2. Brandon Says:

    Hope,

    Very interesting post. I am thrilled to know that there could possibly be a cure for this allergy. I was at summer camp and witnessed a friends reaction to peanuts. (It wasn’t nice.)

    I don’t want to start sounding like an animal rights activist but, what makes these mice so “inferior” to the point that they possibly risk killing them in testing?

  3. Hope Says:

    Thanks for commenting guys!

    Brandon,

    I don’t think the scientists would actually try to kill many mice. The scientists would need the mice to stay alive so they could do research so therefore they would not let them die. It may be a risk but to benefit us i think we can take that risk. So many lives are affected by allergies so if we could find a cure i think we can take this risk.

  4. Isis the Scientist Says:

    Hope, this is a great post! One of the hypotheses for there is a higher prevalence of asthma and allergies is called “The Hygeine Hypothesis.” What this hypothesis says is that because we are cleaner than we used to be (for example, we use more antibacterial agents), children aren’t exposed to as many diseases as they once were and their immune systems are not educated normally. Because of this, the immune system recognizes normal things like foods or pet dander as pathogens and develops a response to them. This response is the allergy or asthma.

    You all are doing awesome work with this blog and I can’t wait to keep reading!

    Isis

  5. Hope Says:

    Thank you for commenting!This theory is very interesting! I found at this site: http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002421.html that these individuals are losing the ability to fight off these diseases like allergies or asthma! This does make sense because i kno someone who is very careful about what he eats and is very clean but gets sick all the time! We used to say it doesn’t add up but now it all makes sense. Many people think that when they get sick they ate something or they were exposed to something bad. But that is just a myth in science. The real truth is we need to be exposed to these germs to make our immune system stronger

  6. Paul Bryce Says:

    Thanks for highlighting our work, Hope. The entire lab was really happy to hear that our work is being seen as interesting by more than just the allergy science crowd!

    You guys make some great comments that I can respond to.

    Brianna: we actually can use this technique to make the mice allergic to eggs. In the original manuscript we use ovalbumin, which is a major allergen found in eggs, as well as also showing peanuts. We’re hoping that we can now study differences between the food allergens and how the immune system reacts. For example, we still don’t understand why peanuts can cause such dangerous responses in people, called anaphylaxis, while some other foods are more commonly associated with minor systems like hives.

    Brandon: You’re raising one of the most important issues around this type of research. The use of animals in research is one that we, as scientists, must carefully consider all possible alternatives and only use when absolutely required. If we do use them, we must do it with the utmost respect and consideration for their well-being. In our case, there are no tissue-culture or in vitro experimental techniques that allow us to really investigate the complex interactions of the immune system or the range of symptoms that are seen in food allergy.

    Isis and Hope: I would just add in that the Hygiene Hypothesis centers around exposure to bugs and nasties when very young. Someone who is very clean is unlikely to be affecting their health in a way that would cause allergy. It looks like it is important to see harmful things when our immune system is developing. I will comment though that, while the Hygiene Hypothesis has some compelling data to support this idea, there are some studies that argue against it and it is probably a lot more complex than we currently understand.

  7. Hope Says:

    Thank you so much for commenting Mr. Bryce!! The information you gave us is very interesting. What are the studies called that agrue against this idea? I would like to get some more information on these two topics. They are very interesting. This source (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/allergy.html) says that pollen, dust mites, mold spores , pet dander, food, insect stings and medicines are the most common things that cause reactions. These all make sense becuase i have heard of them before but what are other abnormal things that cause reactions?Thank you again for commenting on my post!!!

  • Kris

    I just heard about this site on Science Friday. Congratulations to Mrs. Baker’s students on your very cool blog.

    This one is especially interesting to me because I’ve had allergies since I was around 10 years old. I don’t have any food allergies, but I do have an example of an unusual allergic reaction. I had a serious reaction to hair dye when I was in high school and had to go to the hospital for almost a week. It just goes to show that you can become allergic to anything.

  • phoenixia

    Your blog is very interesting, especially for me since I happen to have a peanut allergy. I also found more information on the subject and it turns out there are four types of hypersensitivity:immediate, antibody mediated, immune complex mediated (an immune complex is the combination of antibodies and antigens) , and delayed hypersensitvity. The allegeric reaction that Kris experienced was a delayed hypersensitivity that is usally related to the exposure of dyes, chemicals, or metals ; this type of hypersensitivity is also used when a tuberculin test is performed. Check out the website ; it also explains how other animals besides the mouse could have allergies:
    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2141&aid=146

  • Anonymous

    Peanut allergy is a food allergy, it is the most common and potentially fatal in up to 100 deaths caused by allergic reactions in the United States each year on public health interests.

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