Dr. Christopher Kepley (Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering) received new funding from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine/Prime: National Institutes of Health for the project “A Role for Glycolipids and Unconventional T Cell Subsets in Alpha-Gal Allergy.”
The overall goal of this application is to determine if glycolipid and unconventional T cells are involved in the sensitization and effector phases of alpha-gal mammalian meat allergy. Mast cells are the “end-point” mediators of this allergic disease given their ubiquitous tissue distribution and unique allergic mediator release profile (e.g.histamine).
Dr. Commins and Dr. Kepley have been working together for the past year investigating human mast cells role in alpha-gal allergy. the researchers have already demonstrated that human skin-derived mast cells can be sensitized with alpha-gal IgE containing serums from patients and activated with alpha gal antigen. Here the researchers will continue these studies specifically focusing on Aim 1C to test the hypothesis that alpha-gal containing glycolipids activate mast cells leading to release of allergic mediators in part through IgE and Fc?RI signaling.
Dr. Kepley’s core lab competency is isolating, propagating, and performing functional assays with human skin tissue mast cells1-5. The researchers will use these cells to determine the release kinetics of ?-hexosaminidase (degranulation) from human skin-derived mast cells sensitized with alpha-gal specific IgE and challenged with glycolipid complexed or not with CD1d.