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Histamine involved in allergy may treat multiple sclerosis

Italian scientists suggest histamine may be used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, especially of multiple sclerosis. This well-known molecule is involved in the allergic reactions. It dilates blood vessels and makes their walls pervious so immune cells can spread more easily. New research shows that histamine may prevent or lessen the multiple sclerosis symptoms. This discovery may lead to creating of a new drug for the disease which is now incurable.

Using a mouse model, scientists studied the influence of histamine and two similar molecules on T-lymphocytes, which attack myelin in multiple sclerosis patients as if it was an invading virus. The researchers treated T-lymphocytes with histamine or the two other molecules and then evaluated the functioning of these cells.

The study showed that histamine reduced the proliferation of T-lymphocytes, the cells destroying myelin in the neurons. Besides, the production of interferon-gamma, which takes part in brain inflammation and demyelination, declined. Moreover, histamine prevented T-lymphocytes from adhering to inflamed brain vessels, which plays an important role in the multiple sclerosis development.

The research demonstrated previously unknown connection between allergy and autoimmunity. Furthermore, it suggested that histamine could be used in developing new drug for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. The scientists pointed to the importance of new studies in other animal models and finally in humans.