Most people are impatiently awaiting the return of spring, others, allergic, fear it for what it brings: pollen. Symptoms range from sneezing, to rhinitis or conjunctivitis. Severe forms can cause sleep disturbance or make you irritable. Today, treatments can greatly reduce these symptoms. However, the scientific community is still wondering about the origin of allergies and how they develop. German researchers followed people with allergies for a year to better understand this phenomenon.
Daily monitoring for one year
A research group from the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (Germany) recruited people with allergies to pollen responsible for rhinitis and non-allergic participants. For a year, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire daily to record any symptoms. Researchers regularly collected samples of blood and nasal secretions for analysis. They compared different immune markers before and during the pollen season. They identified two substances and two antibodies linked to the allergy. This allowed them to determine the severity of symptoms even before the start of the pollen season, simply by analyzing the expression of biomarkers in the body.
One discovery, three applications
“Identifying these biomarkers has helped us in three different ways, details the lead author of the study, Mehmet Gökkaya, first, by predicting the severity of nasal symptoms, we were able to identify for which patients, therapeutic treatment was of most interest. Second, biomarkers can help us understand the processes of allergy development in non-allergic people, and thus allow us to better prevent them. ” The third interest of this discovery lies in understanding the physiological processes that cause symptoms. For this researcher, these conclusions could allow the development of new therapeutic approaches.
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