As part of a study that received significant funding from CK-CARE, scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich and the Technische Universität München have discovered a new mechanism that explains how non-allergenic pollen constituents can exacerbate allergies. The so-called B cells play a crucial role in this mechanism. Until now, it has been assumed that the dendritic cells were primarily responsible for any allergy-promoting effects by non-allergenic plant constituents. The newly discovered mechanism relating to B cells therefore presents a new viewpoint on this subject and offers new approaches for the development of therapies in allergic diseases.
“Since the prevalence of pollen constituents may also depend on climatic factors, we, together with the Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology (BIOP), intend to continue monitoring whether changing climatic conditions are exerting an influence on the B-cell mediated allergenicity of pollen,” explains Prof. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, Director of CK-CARE.
Spark is a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) funding scheme aiming to support projects that show unconventional thinking and introduce a unique approach. The Spark is highly competitive and supports projects based on promising ideas of high originality. CK-CARE was recognized as an eligible institution in June 2023 by the SNSF, opening new funding opportunities for the CK-CARE researchers.
This project aims to understand how two opposing signals: eczema dysregulated immune environment (Th2 response) and bacterial colonization (Th1 response) impact neutrophils function.
Neutrophils are tiny but powerful immune cells in our blood that fight off bacteria and viruses. They live for only 2-3 days and can quickly respond to infections. Neutrophils can adapt to different situations thanks to their genetic instructions (RNA). Our body’s reversible changes in reading DNA, called epigenomic modifications, are crucial for a functional immune response.
Eczema, a chronic skin condition, happens when various factors like genetics, skin damage, and immune reactions go haywire. People with eczema have neutrophils that do not work as well in fighting bacteria, making them more prone to infections.
This study addresses a knowledge gap in neutrophil adaptation to an allergic milieu, by evaluating neutrophil adaptation to anti-bacterial response in a type 2 immune response dominated context such as atopic dermatitis using transcriptional and epigenomic profiling along with comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality (netosis, phagocytosis, ROS-production, bactericidal activity, chemotaxis). Building upon in-vitro stimulation insights, then we will aim for a comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality in atopic dermatitis patients treated or not with Dupilumab.