Enzyme involved in allergic diseases found


allergic reactionRICHMOND, Va., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. research team says it has identified an enzyme involved in allergic reactions, possibly providing a new target for the treatment of such maladies.

The scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York note allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever afflict about 30 percent of people in the developed world -- and allergic reactions are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States.

The team has demonstrated, for the first time, the role of a proteolytic enzyme called ADAM10 that releases a major allergy regulatory protein from the surface of cells and, thereby, promotes a stronger allergic response.

"Our research, for the first time, may represent a treatment strategy to prevent, rather than simply control, IgE-mediated allergy," said VCU Professor Daniel Conrad. IgE is an antibody known to trigger Type I allergic disease. "Understanding ADAM10's role in allergic disease makes it a potential target for the design of drugs to treat asthma and allergic disease."

The research appears online in the journal Nature Immunology.