Some children show symptoms of peanut allergies even before consuming them. Isn’t this surprising?
Well, the latest research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has found the answer to this conundrum. Such children may have experienced early skin exposure that caused sensitization and eventually led to symptoms of allergies.
What’s the Research?
The researchers used mice in order to investigate the initial phases of allergic reaction development to foods such as peanuts. They exposed the mice’s skin to the protein extract of peanuts. When peanut allergens were repeatedly exposed to their skin, the mice were noted to be experiencing sensitization as well as a whole-body allergic reaction.
The studies done in the past have identified the presence of peanut proteins in house dust and breast milk, and this is likely a factor for so many peanut allergies in children. However, this research has also added the factor of skin exposure as a probable cause of peanut allergy to the list. Cecilia Berin, the study author and associate professor of pediatrics at the Ican School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says that peanut protein, one of the major roots of allergic reactions in many individuals, is considered to be risky and foreign by the immune system of the skin.
The Result of the Research
The team of researchers is optimistic about the data obtained on the skin reaction by the exposure to peanut protein. They believe that this data will be very useful for the development of potential treatments for the prevention of food allergies.
Berin states in the news release that if they are able to distinguish how the immune system detects peanut as a threat, then they can find a way to block the pathway and prevent the food allergy entirely.
According to Berin, barring the immune pathways that triggered the reaction helped prevent the development of peanut allergies in mice. She further added that the next phase of their research includes testing this same experiment on humans.