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August 17, 2010

Cause of Nickle Allergy Determined

There are millions of people who are allergic to nickle which causes itching, burning, and redness upon contact with skin. It's the reason why people have skin reactions when wearing cheap jewelry as well as cell phones.

The cause of such dermatitis was a mystery until recently when scientists in Germany have discovered the underlying mechanism of this reaction. Using mice, they figured out that nickel binds to a protein called toll-like receptor 4 or TLR4, which signals the immune system to initiate an inflammatory response.

Treatment of nickle allergy can be theoretically be made by creating a blocker to his protein.

Reference:
Crucial role for human Toll-like receptor 4 in the development of contact allergy to nickel. Nat Immunol. 2010 Aug 15. [Epub ahead of print]
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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