Joel Cairo: NYDN Freelance/Joel Cairo for New York Daily Ne
The research paves the way for new treatments for people with cat allergies, scientists said.
A new study offers hope for cat lovers with feline allergies.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge said they’ve identified how a protein in cat dander triggers the immune system’s adverse response, according to a new study.
When protein Fel d 1, which is found in cats’ dead skin cells, interacts with a common environmental bacterial toxin known as lipopolysaccharides (LPS), it activates an immune receptor called TLR 4. This triggers an allergic reaction and causes common symptoms like itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing and wheezing, scientists said.
In the study, researchers used a drug that inhibits the TLR4 response and were able to prevent an inflammatory response to cat dander.
“As drugs have already been developed to inhibit the receptor TLR4, we are hopeful that our research will lead to new and improved treatments for cat and possibly dog allergy sufferers,” lead author Dr. Clare Bryant said in a press release.
TLR4 is also known to play a role in nickel and dust mite allergies.
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system overreacts to a preceived danger and misidentifies something like cat dander as a harmful bacteria.
The research was published in The Journal of Immunology.