The Immune System Plays a Role in Allergic Response Behaviors

From peanut to egg allergies, certain foods can make someone extremely sick.

Our immune system plays a crucial role in defending your body against pathogens, toxic chemicals, and cell alterations that might make you unwell by initiating an allergic response. It is composed of several cells, organs, and proteins.

The immune system sees food or particular item as hazardous when you have a food allergy. The immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that may neutralize the allergen — the food or substance that causes an allergy — by neutralizing it, is then produced by your immune system by stimulating cells.


Even while scientists have long known that the immune system plays a crucial role in responding to environmental allergens and diseases, it was unclear if it was involved in causing these types of reactions toward allergy triggers. A Yale research published on July 12 in Nature shows that the immune system influences human behavior.

According to the study's lead author, Ruslan Medzhitov, immunological recognition regulates behavior, particularly protective actions against poisons initially transmitted by antibodies and subsequently to our brains.

Scientists say immune system communication is necessary for the brain to alert the body to possible environmental risks and attempt to protect against them.

We find immune recognition controls behavior, specifically defensive behaviors against toxins that are communicated first through antibodies and then to our brains.

- Medzhitov

How did scientists conduct the study?

Mice sensitized to experience allergic responses to ova, a protein contained in chicken eggs, were used in research conducted in the Medzhitov lab under the direction of Esther Florsheim and Nathaniel Bachtel.

As anticipated, these mice tended to stay away from ova-laced water sources, whereas control mice tended to like them. They discovered that sensitized mice developed an aversion to ova-laced water sources over months. The scientists then investigated if immune system characteristics might be used to modify the behavior of sensitized mice.

For instance, they discovered that blocking the immune system's production of IgE antibodies caused allergic mice to lose their aversion to the protein in their water. Mast cells, a particular sort of white blood cell that works in conjunction with other immune system proteins to communicate with brain regions that regulate aversion behavior, are released due to IgE antibodies.


Mice no longer avoided the allergen because the information transmission was halted without IgE acting as an initiator. According to Medzhitov, the research shows how the immune system developed to protect animals from hazardous ecological niches.

He concludes that understanding how the immune system stores prospective threats might one day aid in reducing overreactions to various allergies and other diseases.


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