Allergy link to 'clock' genes

Mutations in genes that regulate the body's sense of time may trigger severe allergic reactions by disrupting hormonal rhythms, a study suggests.

Clock: allergic reactions may disrupt body clock
Clock: allergic reactions may disrupt body clock

Researchers found that mice with damaged CLOCK genes, which govern the body's natural rhythms such as the sleep-wake cycle, developed contact hypersensitivity.

Mice with the faulty genes had severe inflammation, ear swelling and high levels of serum immunoglobulin E and mast cells - which promote contact allergy - compared with normal mice. Levels of corticosterone, which protects against such an immune reaction, was lower among mutated mice.

Study authors said the findings suggested a role for CLOCK mutations in promoting an immune response that exacerbates contact hypersensitivity.

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