Document Detail

Proposed biomolecular theory of fasting during fevers due to infection.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11703168     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The folk admonition to starve a fever may have a scientific basis. Fevers due to infectious organisms that produce neuraminidase (sialidase) may contribute to the pathophysiology of autoimmune conditions. Neuraminidase unmasks host cellular lectins that interact with food lectins and can induce human leukocyte antigen type II (HLA II) expression. HLA II can then bind food lectins and serve as targets for antibody production. Some of these antibodies can then cross-react and attack healthy tissue, inducing disease. The example of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is discussed, helping to explain why infectious organisms and dairy product ingestion appear to be linked to some cases of this disease. Genetic variants and other factors may contribute to disease pathogenesis, so this model does not explain all instances of autoimmune disease. Fasting as a way to avoid the process by not introducing food lectins is briefly reviewed. Neuraminidase inhibitors might be useful in preventing genesis of autoimmunity during infection, although this possibility has not been formally tested.
E Yarnell
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic     Volume:  6     ISSN:  1089-5159     ISO Abbreviation:  Altern Med Rev     Publication Date:  2001 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-11-12     Completed Date:  2001-12-05     Revised Date:  2005-11-16    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9705340     Medline TA:  Altern Med Rev     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  482-7     Citation Subset:  K    
Botanical Medicine Academy, 69113 Camp Polk Rd, Sisters OR 97759, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Bacterial Infections / complications,  immunology
Cell Membrane / metabolism
Fasting / physiology*
Fever / immunology,  microbiology,  therapy*
Lectins / immunology,  metabolism*
N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism*
Neuraminidase / metabolism*
Virus Diseases / complications,  immunology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Lectins; 131-48-6/N-Acetylneuraminic Acid; EC

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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