The body’s own messenger substances, or biomarkers, on the nasal mucosa provide an indication of the severity of the pollen allergy even before the pollen season. Allergy sufferers with a high level of messenger substances on the nasal swab had significantly more severe symptoms during the next pollen season than allergy sufferers whose nasal secretion contained only a low level of messenger substances.
This finding was made by scientists from UNIKA-T, a research association at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich. The messenger substances are ‘pollen-specific immunoglobulin’, or antibodies to the respective pollen.
The messenger substances could help to:
- better identify the patients who benefit the most from treatment.
- better understand the processes at work during the development of allergies and prevent them.
- identify the physiological processes that originally cause symptoms.
“Possibly this could be a new starting point for the development of novel therapeutics“, says biochemist Mehmet Gökkaya from the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Helmholtz Zentrum München.
HelmholtzZentrum. „Richtiger Riecher“: Nasale Biomarker für die Vorhersage der Symptomstärke bei Pollen-Allergikern und Nichtallergikern bestimmt (‘Right on the nose’: Nasal biomarkers for predicting symptom severity in pollen allergic and non-allergic patients). Helmholtz Zentrum München, press release from 30 April 2020.
Gökkaya M. Defining biomarkers to predict symptoms in subjects with and without allergy under natural pollen exposure. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;pii:S0091-6749(20)30419-X.