Daily Archives: July 26, 2013

Hopkins proves link between connective tissue disorders and allergies

This is very big, and very interesting, especially in regards to our family history. A Johns Hopkins study has found that transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), the growth hormone that’s the direct cause of Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) and a partial cause of Marfan syndrome, has been proven to influence immune system development, as well. This explains the link between Marfan/LDS and chronic allergies, as well as a common genetic root to allergies, connective tissue disorders, and autoimmune diseases-varying based upon other genetic factors, environment, etc. (for instance, Marfan and LDS are caused by different genes that influence TGF-beta). While the article doesn’t mention Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), it is also found to be associated with allergies and food allergies.
The study involved patients with chronic allergies who both did and did not have comorbid Marfan or LDS. All were found to have a defect in one or more of the genes responsible for TGF-beta, though other genes were involved in manifestations of specific conditions.
One of the take homes: Hopkins is now looking into whether the Losartan family of drugs, which have proven effective in Marfan and LDS–may also be effective in treatment of allergies. It also gives credence to anecdotal evidence that EDS sufferers find improvement in their overall symptoms by taking Zyrtec and Zantac.