The doctor's review
By Dr. Jacques Laurent
WHY IS CURLY "VACCINANT"?
Horse hair allergy is actually an abnormal reaction of the body's immune system to a protein contained mainly in the skin of the horse. This allergy is known as immediate hypersensitivity allergy, where the lymphocytes of the subject produce, in contact with the allergen, immunoglobulins type E. At the first contact with the horse, this so-called sensitization phase where the immune system inquires is clinically mute.
Repeated contacts with the same allergen (which may also belong to different horses) induce the production of large quantities of "informed" (B) lymphocytes and thus IgE.
The memory of immune cells is very large, and the time between sensitization and sufficient IgE production can be counted in years.
Massive IgE production during the allergic reaction is independent of the amount of antigens present in the environment.
IgE then binds to certain other cells of the immune system such as mast cells, which in turn release into the blood a cascade of chemical mediators that will stimulate the target organs and cause the obvious clinical allergic reaction: broncho constriction (asthma) rhinitis, eczema, pruritus ... but also headache, abdominal pain.
If the protein sees its fine structure a little different, the number of informed lymphocytes alerted by the presence of the allergen will be less. The immune response (therefore allergic) will malfunction and symptoms will be lower or nonexistent.
In addition, if the protein is produced in a small quantity, as in the case of Curly, the body will produce at each contact very small amounts of specific immunoglobulins (G4) directed against the antigen, aiming at its eradication of organization. When the level of these antibodies is sufficient, the subject is protected.
This is the "vaccinating" effect of the antigen, which is commonly used in medicine as desensitization.
Thus, the Curly is said to be hypo-allergenic, not only because it induces few or no crisis, but also because it "vaccinates" the body so that the riders thus desensitized can hope to come into contact with horses other races, without being sick.
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