Oral Tolerance Essay

1444 Words 6 Pages
Oral tolerance is the property of certain antigens which, when ingested via the oral route suppresses the immune system and induces tolerance. This property can be used to explain how peptides and other molecules from the food we eat are easily digested and absorbed without eliciting an immune response. This property has been exploited by scientists wherein particular amounts of antigens when administered through the oral route lead to its tolerance by the immune system and thus help in alleviating disease symptoms. Different antigens induce different degrees of tolerance. Here the aim is to understand the structural characteristics favourable for inducing tolerogenicity and avail the results for therapeutic uses.
The animal body
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Scientific plans and methodology:
Mice will be employed as the model system for experimentation. From literature, N number of antigens already shown to be effective in causing oral tolerance will be selected like s-antigen, OVA etc. [5, 6].
N+1 groups of mice with 4 mice in each group would be created. One group would serve as control and remaining each group would be administered a particular antigen. Each mouse would be fed its designated antigen dissolved in their drinking water. The control mice will therefore receive a normal supply of drinking water. Since these antigens are expected to cause immunosuppression, the corresponding phenotype observed would be an increase in the number of Th3 / Treg cells accompanied by an increase in the amount of TGF-β in the mice [9, 10, 11,
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Most of the structures for such antigens are already available in literature [13] which can be used for analysis. Comparison of structural properties between the antigen that induces the highest tolerogenicity and the remaining antigens could shed light on the factors responsible for high tolerogenicity. These factors could be shape of the antigen, presence of a particular element, presence of a particular side-chain, presence of certain bonds like disulphide or hydrophobic interactions and other possibilities that can only be determined after experimentation.
Depending on shortlisted desirable structural characteristics, modifications can be made in the antigens using appropriate chemical treatment. The antigen would then have to be checked for any deviation from its normal biological function. If the antigen retains its activity further experiment to determine changes in its tolerogenicity can be carried out based on levels of TGF-β produced.
After identification of the desirable characteristics, other antigens can be modified to achieve the same which would invariably aid in the treatment of diseases. Further studies would involve understanding the regulatory pathways involved in activation and suppression of the immune

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