Allergic Reaction To Bee Stings May Be Protective Mechanism

The common allergic reaction associated with bee stings could be a protective mechanism in the body, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford.

Researchers examined a group of mice by injecting some with bee venom and some with a salt solution. They found that some those mice injected with the salt solution developed a larger number of immune cells immediately following the injection than those who had the salt injection. A blood analysis also showed that those mice also had higher levels of antibodies.

"Our findings support the hypothesis that this kind of venom-specific, IgE-associated, adaptive immune response developed, at least in evolutionary terms, to protect the host against potentially toxic amounts of venom, such as would happen if the animal encountered a whole nest of bees, or in the event of a snakebite," the researchers wrote.

by RTT Staff Writer

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