Manual developed to identify rare B cells linked to allergies and autoimmune diseases

B cells are best known for their role in the production of antibodies, but they may also contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases.

Joshua Koenig, a professor in the Department of Medicine, led a briefing for scientists with this proposed manual. Photo: Brighterworld McMaster.

Researchers at McMaster University have taken an important step forward in understanding and locating B cells, a type of important immune cell that may play a role in protecting the body from disease and the development of allergies. autoimmune diseases,

According to the study, researchers have created an instruction manual that will make it easier for scientists around the world to identify these difficult-to-identify cells.

The role of B cells in food allergy: a guide to their identification and study.

The study, led by PhD student Alyssa Phelps and assistant professor Josh Koenig in McMaster’s Department of Medicine, focused on exploring B cells as part of food allergy research. The study, published January 19 in the prestigious journal Nature Protocols, provides a detailed guide to identifying and studying these elusive cells.

Additionally, B cells are known for their role in the production of antibodies, an important component immune system Which fights diseases like cancer and infection. However, these cells have also been shown to play a role in development autoimmune diseases and allergies, which highlights the importance of understanding and controlling their function.

He discovered a method of studying B cells considered ‘rare’ in human blood

Koenig explains the difficulty inherent in studying these cells: “One of the big problems in trying to study these B cells, which produce these antibodies that have all kinds of different and very important functions, is that they are very rare indeed. To illustrate this point, he noted that these cells make up less than 0.0001% of all immune cells in human blood.

Thus, the research team adopted a method developed by Justin Taylor of the University of Virginia. This method involves the use of antigen tetramers for labeling and enrichment. sensitized specific B cells, which makes it easier to detect. Additionally, tetramers composed of four antigen molecules can be tailored to target specific B cells associated with a variety of conditions ranging from food allergies to COVID-19.

Allergen and antigen tetramers in B cells

“After using the technology for a few years in many of our studies and making many different allergen tetramers and different antigen tetramers for other people, we decided to create this technology to help other people study these incredibly important B cells. “Decided to write a protocol document.” Phelps insisted

In addition to their application in allergy studies, these tetramers can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines. Koenig and his team, along with other McMaster researchers, determined whether a vaccine candidate activated specific B cells related to COVID-19, highlighting the potential of this technology in medical research.

It is important to note that this progress will not only benefit research on allergies. autoimmune diseasesBut these types of cells could also have broad implications for the understanding and treatment of various medical conditions.

Source consulted here

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