A peanut butter and Clostridium sandwich

Jacob Mayfield Oct 09, 2014

As the father of a school-aged child, peanut allergies are emblematic of the tremendous increase in the incidence of allergies. PB&J is already on notice in my daughter's class, a trend I expect to follow her throughout schooling.  Increased allergy and asthma have received plenty recent of scientific and media attention, if not funding, but actionable conclusions have been harder to find.

What happens when one trending scientific topic meets another?

Combining a model of peanut allergy sensitivity with an analysis of the gut microbiome, Stefka et al find that Clostridial species in the gut reduce peanut sensitivity.  They don't do this just by digesting allergins; rather, they induce a more favorable immune response.

Don't expect Clostridial probiotics anytime soon, as there are many unanswered questions.  Just to name a fun one, as Firmicutes, Clostridial species are also associated with obesity.  But I applaud any finding that ties a molecular mechanism to the hygiene hypothesis.

Article: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/36/13145.full.pdf+html