It is a phytoestrogen, which means it is structurally similar to the hormone estrogen and can bind to the body’s estrogen receptors.
“Our findings suggest that formononetin is a particularly good therapeutic candidate for the treatment of food allergies.” Ibrahim Musa, a doctoral candidate in pathology, microbiology, and immunology at New York University School of Medicine. “Our study also reveals new mechanisms and targets that can be used to design future drugs for the treatment of food allergies and other allergic disorders or for the prevention of anaphylaxis. severe in allergic diseases.”
A food allergy occurs when the immune system considers a food or something in the food to be a threat. This causes the immune system to produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that react to the food and can cause allergy symptoms such as hives, asthma, itching, difficulty breathing, or diarrhea.
In previous studies, researchers have identified formononetin as a potential allergy treatment because it reduces IgE production. To learn more, the researchers turned to an approach known as systemic pharmacology.
This involves using data from public databases to identify gene and protein targets upregulated in food allergy and mast cell diseases. Mast cells also play an important role in IgE-mediated allergic diseases.
Once the gene and protein targets were identified, the researchers validated them using cultured cell lines commonly used in allergy studies. These cellular experiments show that formononetin affected the expression of gene and protein targets identified using systemic pharmacology.
“Our study demonstrates that systemic pharmacology can be used to predict drug/compound-target interactions,” Musa said. “Furthermore, the identified mechanism of action of formononetin is also important for other allergic diseases such as allergic asthma and hay fever. This suggests that formononetin or other therapeutic applications reduce production IgE production may be useful for the treatment of these diseases.”
The researchers have developed a peanut allergy mouse model that they plan to use to study formononetin and identify potential side effects.