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Immune Sensing of Allergens Promotes Avoidance Behavior

October 10, 2023
by Osman Moneer

Discoveries & Impact (October 2023)

A new study published in Nature demonstrates how the immune system plays a role in the development of behaviors to avoid food allergens. Previous research has suggested that the immune system may be involved in behavioral modification beyond simply protecting the body from infectious diseases.

The team used pre-clinical models to understand the effects of allergic sensitization on avoidance behavior. They found that ingestion of allergens triggered specific brain areas such as the nucleus tractus solitarius and amygdala. They also observed that underlying genetic factors significantly modified the extent of avoidance behaviors.

The authors assert that this function of the immune system may have evolved to help organisms ultimately avoid harmful substances in the food and environment.

To learn more, read the article: “Immune sensing of food allergens promotes avoidance behaviour.

Florsheim, E.B., Bachtel, N.D., Cullen, J.L. et al. Immune sensing of food allergens promotes avoidance behaviour. Nature 620, 643–650 (2023).

Submitted by Julie Parry on October 10, 2023