Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Potential Allergy Reaction Molecule Discovered

Cure? Breakthrough? Or just a tiny piece of the puzzle?

“A food protein can be perfectly harmless to one person and lethal to another, said [Dr Claudio Nicoletti at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich]. “We have identified the missing molecule that normally keeps immune responses under control and appropriate.”

That statement, from a press release issued by the Institute of Food Research is the tantalizing news issued by Dr. Nicoletti and his team, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Sienna.
In previous research, Dr Nicoletti found that special types of white blood cells called dendritic cells are important in helping the immune system decide on how to respond to foreign molecules. In the latest research, Dr Nicoletti compared the activity of dendritic cells in the gut and in the spleen of allergic and allergy resistant mice. He found that in the gut of susceptible mice, dendritic cells have stopped producing IL-12.

The mice were bred to be allergic to peanuts. Why were they allergic? It is the lack of IL-12, more formally known as Interleukin-12.

What would happen if an allergen was eaten by someone who actually had the IL-12 molecule?
Dr Nicoletti suggests that by delivering an allergen in the presence of IL-12, allergic reactions could be brought back under control.

Since these studies are still being done in rats, the research is a long, long way from having any benefits for human allergy sufferers.

The article, "Production of IL-12 by Peyer's patch-dendritic cells is critical for the resistance to food allergy" will be published online by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on Monday 2nd July 2007. It is, of course, not up yet, despite the date, so I'll update this post when it is available.

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