Research Summary (2015- )

“Pushing the Edge of Allergy Research”: by Prof. Atsuhito NAKAO

  The prevalence of allergic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy has reached “pandemic” proportions in industrialized countries and the costs to public health and the economy are massive and growing. Although we come to understand several major aspects of allergic diseases though extensive scientific efforts during the past ~50 years, there are still significant puzzles in allergic diseases that hinder the development of effective cure for the diseases.

  The research goal in our laboratory is to solve such puzzles, thereby raising new ideas for prevention and treatment of allergic diseases with great impact on medicine.

  We are currently keen about a puzzle: “How time affects allergy?”

  It has been well documented that symptoms and laboratory parameters of allergic diseases exhibit prominent ~24-hour (i.e. circadian) variations. However, the biological basis of this phenomenon remains poorly understood.

  We have recently shown that the internal time keeping system “the circadian clock” plays a key role in the temporal regulation of IgE/mast cell (or basophil)-mediated allergic reaction, and may therefore underlie the circadian pathophysiology of allergic diseases (Nakamura et al. JACI 2011, 2014, Nakamura et al. J Immunol Res 2014, Ando et al. Allergy 2015, Nakao et al. Allergy 2015).

  Given the strong influence of circadian rhythms on allergic diseases, we believe that research on how the time of day impacts allergic reaction which we may call “chronoallergology” will provide new insight into previously unknown aspects of the biology of allergies. Such knowledge should facilitate novel strategies for prevention and treatment of these diseases.

[Publications (Atsuhito Nakao)]