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, research suggests

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

Corticosterone, which protects against such immune response, was lower among mutated mice.

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

Takita E, Yokota S, Tahara Y et al. Br J Dermatol 2013; 168: 39-46

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