Scientists explain why cats cause allergies in many people

Scientists explain why cats cause allergies in many people
Scientists explain why cats cause allergies in many people

Research into the world's only known venomous primate, the slow loris, has revealed a striking similarity between its venom and an allergenic protein in cats. Perhaps in cats, it also plays the role of a protective weapon. The results of the study are published in the journal Toxins.

Slow lorises (Nycticebus sp.) Are small primates native to South and Southeast Asia. The cute appearance of these animals is very deceiving. The lorises have razor-sharp teeth in their mouths, allowing the monkey to tear their prey apart. But this is not enough - the axillary glands of the animal secrete a poisonous substance with which they lubricate their teeth before a bite. After this, the victim's wounds turn into a non-healing abscess.

Scientists under the direction of Bryan Fry of the University of Queensland in Australia, who studied the toxins of slow lorises, noticed that their poison had a special effect on humans.

"Usually slow lorises use their poison, which causes non-healing wounds, to fight their fellow competitors," Fry said in a press release. "But when they bite people, victims show symptoms of allergic shock."

These symptoms include shortness of breath, blood in the urine, severe pain, and in worst cases, anaphylactic shock.

The authors examined the complete sequence of proteins in the secretion of the axillary glands of slow loris. The results showed that the poisonous excretions of the primate include more than two hundred aromatic substances, some of which were previously well known, and some were discovered for the first time. Among the latter, scientists have found proteins that are almost identical to the allergenic proteins of cats.

Scientists believe that similar to slow lorises, cats secrete proteins that cause allergies in humans as a defensive response - to ward off predators and defend territory.

"If it works as a defensive weapon in one animal, it might work for another," says Fry. a similar function in cats."

Apparently, the evolutionary paths along which the slow lorises and cats developed, at some point independently of each other led to the development of both of the same allergens in the body as a defense against enemies and competitors.

The results of the study are now forcing us to consider cat allergy in a completely new way, which, according to scientists, will help to find an effective way to combat it.

Scientists also hope that their data will serve as a basis for the development of drugs for the poison of slow lorises. In the meantime, in order to protect people from the bites of these adorable animals, which are becoming more and more popular as pets, their teeth are simply pulled out.

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