Allergies are caused by undesirable immunological reactions produced by the body’s immune system to substances that are commonly considered harmless.
Allergic reactions can be categorized into different types of hypersensitivity based on the underlying mechanism. Generally type I, II and III are antibody mediated while type IV is cell-mediated.
Figure: Allergic diseases
Most common is type I IgE-mediated allergic reactions, which commonly is a fast response occurring within minutes of encountering the allergen. Other types of hypersensitivity involve complement activation, tissue damage induced by immune complexes or T cell-mediated inflammation or cytotoxicity.
Exposure can lead to clinical symptoms ranging from allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the upper airways), conjunctivitis (itchy, watery eyes), allergic asthma (inflammation of the lower airways), eczema of the skin, gastrointestinal symptoms or systemic anaphylactic reactions.
GBS Leiden offers several functional assays applicable for a wide range of allergy and projects (diagnostic or screening of samples, functional cellular assay and clinical monitoring). Many of the assays are also suitable for studying vaccination of different types of inflammatory diseases. Our staff will work closely with the clients to tailor these assays fitting the scientific questions and to maximize the success of the project.