London: Scientists have found how a protein found in cat skin triggers an allergic response to the feline, paving way for new treatments for people with cat and dog allergies. Scientists from the University of Cambridge found that when Fel d 1 is in the presence of very low doses of the ubiquitous environmental bacterial toxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), it activates the pathogen recognition receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).Until now, it was not understood how Fel d 1 generated such a large inflammatory response in the immune system. Allergic reactions are the result of the immune system overreacting to a perceived danger. Instead of identifying and responding to a harmful virus or bacteria, it misidentifies different allergens, including dander (microscopic pieces of animal skin often accompanied by dried saliva from grooming), as dangerous and mounts an immune response.
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