Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Uninhibited Eating

Lack of a protein called SPINK7 underlies the food allergy disease eosinophilic oesophagitis

19 July 2020

Uninhibited Eating

Eating a delicious meal is one of life’s great joys, but for some each mouthful is a struggle and a risk. Eosinophilic oesophagitis is a chronic food allergy in which immune cells called eosinophils amass in the oesophagus (the tube between mouth and stomach) and spark an allergic reaction. Research has shown that patients lack SPINK7, a protein that inhibits the premature breakdown of food material that might damage the oesophagus lining. Without this, the unprotected lining becomes degraded and eosinophils swarm to the site, causing inflammation. A new study has shown that treating mice with a replacement inhibitor (cells bound by the inhibitor in green in the mouse oesophagus pictured) reduced symptoms. The study confirms the mechanism behind the disease, which has only recently been recognised and disproportionately affects children, and points the way for future treatments.

Written by Anthony Lewis

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.