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e-Journal

 

ABC's Of Allergies
(Released August 2006)

 
  by Sujata Suri  

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Glossary

Anaphylaxis: Almost 100 years ago Prince Albert I of Monaco invited two Parisian scientists to perform studies on the toxin produced by the tentacles of a local jellyfish, the Portuguese Man of War. Charles Richet and Paul Portier were able to isolate the toxin and tried to vaccinate dogs in the hope of obtaining protection, or "prophylaxis," against the toxin. Unfortunately, subsequent very small doses of the toxin unexpectedly resulted in a new illness that involved the rapid onset of breathing difficulty and resulted in death within 30 minutes. Richet and Portier termed this "anaphylaxis" or "against protection." They rightly concluded that the immune system first becomes sensitized to the allergen over several weeks and re-exposure may result in a severe reaction.
Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/anaphylaxis/article.htm

Antibody/Immunoglobulin: 1.A protein substance produced in the blood or tissues in response to a specific antigen, such as a bacterium or a toxin that destroys or weakens bacteria and neutralizes organic poisons, thus forming the basis of immunity. 2. An immunoglobulin present in the blood serum or body fluids as a result of antigenic stimulus and interacting only with the antigen that induced it or with an antigen closely related to it.
Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/antibody

Antigen: A macromolecule (usually a protein foreign to the organism), which elicits an immune response on first exposure to the immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies specific to its various antigenic determinants. During subsequent exposures, the antigen is bound and inactivated by these antibodies.
Source: http://www.biobasics.gc.ca/english/View.asp?x=696&mid=410

Antigenic Determinant: The individual surface feature of an antigen that elicits the production of a specific antibody in the course of the immune response. Each antigenic determinant, typically a few amino acids in size, causes the synthesis of a different antibody and thus exposure to a single antigen may result in the expression of a number of antibodies.
Source: http://www.biobasics.gc.ca/english/View.asp?x=696&mid=410

Apoptosis: Programmed cell death in which the chromatin becomes condensed and the DNA is degraded. The immune system employs apoptosis for clonal deletion of cortical thymocytes by antigen in immunologic tolerance.
Source: Illustrated dictionary of Immunology by Julius M. Cruse and Robert E. Lewis

Basophils: A type of white blood cell that contain granules filled with chemicals toxic to other cells and used to destroy invading bacteria and other pathogens. They belong to a group of leukocytes known as granular leukocytes or granulocytes. Basophils: Heavily involved in the inflamatory response and allergic reactions. They destroy pathogens by engulfing them and then releasing their toxic granules in a process known as phagocytosis. Basophils are manufactured and matured in the bone marrow. When triggered they release a number of immune system mediators
Source:

Commensal: A kind of symbiotic relationship which benefits one organism while the other is unharmed. Commensal bacteria in the human gut are totally dependent on nutrition, but they don't harm the human.

Corticosteroid: A steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex or synthesized: administered as drugs they reduce swelling and decrease the body's immune response; adrenal cortical steroids treat several conditions.
Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/corticosteroids

DNA Vaccine: Enables a broad range of applications, including the induction of protective immunity against viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, and open up new perspectives for the treatment of cancer. Furthermore, based on their Th1-promoting properties, DNA vaccines also balance Th2-mediated immune reactions, which renders them a promising alternative for immunotherapy against allergy.
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15119049&dopt=Abstract

Endotoxins: Occur in the outer membrane of certain gram-negative bacteria'they are not secreted but are released only when the cells are disrupted or destroyed. Endotoxins are complex molecules that elicit an antigenic response, resulting in fever and altered resistance to bacterial infections. Exposure may cause toxic hemorrhagic shock and severe diarrhea.Endotoxins are released into the surrounding environment during active cell growth or breakdown, or when bacterial cells are engulfed by immune cells called phagocytes.
Source: http://www.drlera.com/bacterial_diseases/bacterial_endotoxins.htm

Eosinophil: A type of leukocyte (white blood cell) with coarse round granules of uniform size within its cytoplasm and typically a two-lobed nucleus. Eosinophils normally constitute 1 to 3% of the peripheral blood leukocytes.The eosinophil count in the blood often rises above the normal range with allergic reactions and parasitic infections.
Source: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3268

Glycoprotein: A form of macromolecule that is made of protein and carbohydrate through chemical bonding

Helminthes: Species such as flukes, tape worms, and hook worms; most are parasitic to humans

Hypoallergenic: Non-allergy producing. A term applied to a preparation in which every possible care has been taken in formulation and production to ensure minimum allergic reactions.
Source: http://www.allergybuyersclub.com/hypoallergenic.html

IgE antibodies: A type of immunoglobulin whose overproduction by plasma cells results in allergic reactions.

Immunogenic: Anything that can evoke an immune response or produce immunity.

Interferons: A group of proteins called cytokines produced by white blood cells, fibroblasts, or T-cells as part of an immune response to a viral infection or other immune trigger. The name comes from the proteins' ability to interfere with the production of new virus particles.
Source: http://health.enotes.com/neurological-disorders-encyclopedia/interferons

Interleukins: A family of cytokines (chemical messengers) that include IL-1, IL-d (sometimes called T-cell growth factor), IL-10 and IL-12. Different interleukons have different functions:

  • IL-3 promotes the growth and differentiation of several types of blood cells (red, white, and platelets)
  • IL-4 is released by a subset of CD4 cells, and helps stimulate antibody production.
  • IL-6 is produced by macrophages and mediates acute systemic immune responses (e.g., fever).
  • IL-10 stimulates B-cells (which produce antibodies), modulates macrophage function, enhances humoral macrophage function, and enhances humoral immunity, while suppressing cell-mediated immune function.
  • IL-12 is produced by various immune cells, activates natural killer cells and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and induces the production of interferon-gamma. IL-12 is associated with the cell-mediated immune response.
Source: http://www.thebody.com/wa/fall_winter00/interleu.html

Lipopolysaccharides: Lipid-containing compounds; lipopolysaccharides are endotoxins and important group-specific antigens. They are often derived from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria and induce immunoglobulin secretion. The lipopolysaccharide molecule consists of three parts: lipid a, core polysaccharide, and o-specific chains (o antigens).
Source: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Lipopolysaccharides

Lymphocytes: White blood cells that plays a role in immune response. They are of two types, B cells and T cells.

Mast Cells: granulated cells that found in almost all tissues, most abundantly in the skin and the gastrointestinal tract. Like the basophils, mast cells contain large amounts of histamine and heparin. Unlike basophils, mast cells normally remain in the tissues and do not circulate in the blood. Mast cells, derived from the bone marrow stem cells, are regulated by the stem cell factor.
Source: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/ghr/glossary/mastcells

Omalizumab (Xolair): A monoclonal antibody for the treatment of allergic disorders. Monoclonal means that all of the omalizumab is the same, unlike antibodies that we produce naturally in our bodies. Omalizumab is most like a human antibody but a small part (5%), similar to mouse antibody,may attach to IgE. When a substance, such as ragweed pollen, comes in contact with the mast cell, the IgE that is already on the mast cell may attach to the pollen causing the mast cell to release chemical substances, such as histamine. Omalizumab may reduce allergic reactions by causing free IgE to disappear from the body so that the IgE cannot attach to pollen (and other substances).
Source: http://www.aaaai.org/members/hottopic/omalizumab/patient.stm

Probiotic: A live microbial feed supplement which improves the host animal's intestinal microbial balance. Although referring to the supplementation of animal feeds for farm animals, the definition is easily applied to humans. The major consumption of probiotics by humans is in the form of dairy-based foods containing intestinal species of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. It is implicit in the definition that consumption of the probiotic affects the composition of the intestinal microflora. Potential benefits of probiotics includeincreased resistance to infectious diseases, decreased duration of diarrhea, reduction in blood pressure, reduction in serum cholesterol concentration, reduction in allergy, and f reduction in carcinogen production.
Source: http://www.horizonpress.com/hsp/abs/abspro.html

Profilin: A form of protein present in pollen.

Secondary structure: A three dimensional form of different segments of a protein that does not define specific atomic positions.

T helper cells: A type of white blood cell that is part of the body's immune response. It recognizes foreign antigens and stimulates the production of other cells to control them. Also called inducer T cell or CD4+ T cell.
Source: http://www.antigenics.com/glossary/definition.phtml?word=566

Toll like receptors 4 (TLR4): One in a family of receptors that provide critical links between immune stimulants produced by microorganisms and the initiation of host defenses.
Source: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23500

TLR4: A transmembrane lipopolysaccharide receptor. Activation causes the release of antimicrobial peptides, inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and costimulatory molecules that initiate the innate immune response to common gram-negative bacteria.