Peanut allergies, affecting 2 percent of the population, account for the most food allergy-related deaths in the country. Now, scientists have discovered a mediator cell used to usher allergens through the intestinal tract without eliciting an exaggerate immune response.
The intestines are lined with a variety of cells, each with their own specific job. Some of these cells –dendritic cells—allow good nutrients into the blood stream while keeping out the harmful particles and pathogens. Certain people have intestines that overreact to benign particles like peanut
molecules, causing issues like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. These are the people suffering from food allergies.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis discovered the missing link between food allergies and goblet cells—the cells that take particles from the lumen and escort them into the intestinal lining.
Rodney Newberry, who headed up the research said as reported by Live Science, “Everyone has concentrated only on the fact that goblet cells secrete mucus, but I think in the face of our findings, you could perhaps wonder whether the problem in inflammatory bowel disease might result in part from goblet cells not delivering antigens to the correct place. Or maybe they’re not delivering antigens at all or too many antigens. We just don’t know yet.”
The study revealed that the goblet cells are directly linked to how successfully an antigen is passed on to the dendritic cells. If these goblet cells deliver too many antigens, the wrong antigens, or antigens to the wrong place, immune-based issues are going to occur. Scientists believe eventual goblet-specific medication therapy will help people with specific food allergies.