Babies born with overactive immune cells more likely to develop life-threatening reactions
Some babies are born with immune cells primed to cause food allergies, a new study suggests.
Umbilical cord blood of Australian infants who developed food allergies was loaded with overactive versions of immune cells called monocytes, researchers report in the Jan. 13 Science Translational Medicine. Those overexcited cells may push other immune cells to become allergy-causing cells, immunology researcher Yuxia Zhang of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues discovered. The findings may help researchers better understand how food allergies develop and to devise strategies to prevent these potentially life-threatening immune reactions.
As many as 15 million people in the United States — including an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children — have allergies to such foods as milk, eggs, peanuts and shellfish. In