A known disease gene associated with cancer, rheumatism and neurological diseases – S100A4 – is also associated with allergies, as shown by an international research group led from Linköping University.
When the human genome had been mapped, identifying disease-inducing genes proved to be significantly more complicated than anticipated. Thousands of genes may be involved in the development of diseases like allergies.
Researchers in Linköping and Gothenburg – together with colleagues in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, China and the United States – developed an analytical strategy where, with new genome technology, they have identified a gene module that works together with interleukin-13, a key substance in allergies. They discovered that S100A4 had an important role in this module.
May alleviate allergies
The study, which was led by Professor Mikael Benson at Linköping University, may also show positive effects of blocking genes with antibodies, both in a mouse model and in cells from allergy patients. The results suggest that treatment directed towards S100A4 may alleviate allergies but that a combination treatment, aimed at several genes in the module, is probably needed.
“Our results build on a new branch of research, which aims to develop diagnostics and therapies for preventative and individualised treatment,” says Professor of Paediatrics Mikael Benson.
The study is part of the MultiMod research project, which is supported by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission.
Article: A generally applicable translational strategy identifies S100A4 as a candidate gene in allergy by Sören Bruhn et al. Science Translational Medicine, 8 January 2014.