Gene for allergies and the common cold

  • #1
Wrichik Basu
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Some people are more susceptible to allergies and common cold than others. For example, my mother and I suffer from dust allergies and blocked nostrils throughout the year. In fact, last year or so, my mother had to be hospitalised as her lungs had become stiff due to sudden allergy. Almost every year we have to take a good dose of antibiotics.

On the other hand, my father never suffers from these problems. No matter how much dust he is exposed to, he doesn't have any problem.

This makes me believe that susceptibility to allergies come from genes. It seems I have inherited this from my mother. Something similar to heart diseases - the person might inherit it from his parents.

Has any research been done on this till date? Have scientists been able to determine which genes result in susceptibility to dust allergies and common cold?
 

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  • #2
DaveC426913
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Yes, allergies definitely have a genetic factor.

That is not the same as susceptibility to colds. Colds are the body fighting off a virus. Not genetic.
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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I Googled your thread title, and got lots of interesting hits: https://www.google.com/search?q=Gen...mon+cold&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Also, I would think that genetics would play at least two roles in the susceptibility that you are asking about. The first would be physiological differences in airway structures that would predispose a person to be more susceptible to airborn particles and allergens, and the second would be immune system differences that would tend to aggravate allergic reactions...
 
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  • #4
berkeman
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That is not the same as susceptibility to colds. Colds are the body fighting off a virus. Not genetic.
The Google search hit list did have some mention of studies that found some genetic differences, like this one:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170718085134.htm

Although, maybe it's more in the severity of the cold, rather than whether you catch it or not.
 
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  • #5
DaveC426913
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Although, maybe it's more in the severity of the cold, rather than whether you catch it or not.
Yes, that's where I was going to go next, but I didn't want to confuse the central issue.
 
  • #6
jim mcnamara
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergen - An allergy is an overreaction of the immune response to an allergen. Allergens are typically complex molecules found on the surface of particles like dust mites, fungi, spores, human skin mites, and so on. There is no one gene that controls the immune system "switch". There is a "bored immune system" hypothesis which is at least interesting. The concept is that as humans in modern conditions are not exposed to the spectrum of allergens that prehistoric humans were inundated with, our immune systems find other things to attack. Like the adage "idle hands are the devil's workshop", I guess. Cleanliness renders the immune system idle.

Possible example:
Babies in Israel are usually given Bamba, a peanut candy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamba_(snack). Pediatricians in the US recommended in the past that babies should not eat peanuts. The rate of observed virulent peanut product allergies in the US among adolescents is/was far higher than in Israel. The hypothesis is that exposing kids at a very young age allows the immune system to adapt, so the immune system doesn't overreact to that allergen later on.
Popular science version:
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesal...ods-with-peanuts-appears-to-prevent-allergies
 
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  • #7
Klystron
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Also consider life experience, particularly in adults. For instance one family member may have rhinoplasty that changes nasal passage structure and susceptibility to allergens and common colds from that of unaltered members. Family members may be exposed to different diseases and contaminants that alter response. For example I had pet cats as a child as did my siblings. After an illness while traveling I became allergic to animal dander while my siblings did not and keep pets.

I used to suffer from colds as do several siblings. With age I have very fewer colds and sore throats though I also attribute this to receiving annual flu shots; an unproven assumption. The thread does not mention influenza but I used to suffer terribly from flu. With yearly immunization I have not had serious flu while unimmunized family members have reported bouts of flu.
 
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  • #8
Laroxe
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It may be that chronic low level inflammation caused by an allergy might change the conditions in the nose and chest in a way that reduces the defences against the cold virus. In fact chest infections are associated with sever asthma attacks as a cause or a consequence.
 

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